I had a wad of tangled jewelry, that I needed to untangle if I wanted ever to wear any of the necklaces. Based on the familiar terms of today, I should FIGHT the tangles. But I couldn’t beat them. The chains. The knots.
I’m a problem solver by nature. I use this skill in my job. Often my obsessions over a personal decorating issue can keep me awake at night debating whether I prefer the black bedspread over the navy. In the case of hands and fingers working out the tiny knots in my necklaces, I’m fine. I’m not thinking. I’m doing. It’s almost instinctive how my fingertips will sort through the tangled heap of chains until I have restored order.
Cooperation leads to working together. It ends the game. Fighting causes resistance and prolonging the battle. Is it possible that some enjoy the fight too much to learn to participate or cooperate?
By Wednesday of last week, I’d started feeling the creaking stiffness set in that came from sitting at an office desk for too long. I grabbed the bottle of Ibuprofen from my drawer, poured out a couple of pills into my hand and tossed them into my mouth. I grabbed my water bottle with my other hand and poured it into my hand. What? I sighed at my silly mistake. I now had a wet lap. At least no one else had seen my mental lapse.
The fast paced world gives us less time to think, so we compensate by adding shortcuts. We acronym, do serving sizes, micro manage, compartmentalize, over-compensate, map things out, program, and function key every part of our lives until we wonder if we are alive. Is this how we end up with water in our hands instead of our mouth? There’s a video I watched that talks about the difference between machines and living things. In it the announcer explained, you can disassemble and reassemble a machine, and it will still work. If you took apart your family pet, then tried to reassemble the parts it would no longer be living. Of course, we know this, right? We can care for ourselves, but we are families and neighbors also. I think someone needs to invent a personal pause button. It would be better than a time machine.
April is the month for Camp NaNoWriMo, which in case you didn’t know, the month for catching up on writing for some of us. I’m using it as an excuse for what I’ve been thinking about for some time. I have some writing projects to complete so I’ll be quiet on this site for awhile. So even though I’ll still be working for a living, part of me will be writing in my virtual cabin at CampNaNoWriMo. #BeJealous My Secret – not a copyright infringement #NaNoWriMo
There are two different emotions I have when I feel I am losing my power. One is anger, the other is fear. How I choose to act is up to me. I can lash out at everyone else or I can learn to get a better grip of my life.
Neurolinguistics – Retraining
What is Neurolinguistics? I think Salim Ismail may have said it best when he explained,
You have your body which is your hardware, and then you have the external world, right? At an early age you develop the software operating system to interact between the hardware and the external world. And that operating system is formed in the first seven years… So that early education inputs did you get bullied. How did you respond? How do you navigate playground dynamics?….. You kind of form this operating system. Then we become adults and we run out of applications on this operating system. Career, love life, money, sports, money and the applications start crashing. And we blame the appliication. We never go back to rewrite the operating system. And so, in the newer world we live in today, infinitely more complex, global information based, we need to rewrite our operating system. –The Unmistakeable Creative with Salim Ismail
Some of us never update that software. It’s like never retraining for a new job. For most of us, our training at best wasn’t any official practice. We grew up. Got by. Most of our lives looked like JedClampett who moved to Beverly Hills. And we feel that way too. Out of place and out of sorts. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Is there a skill you seem to be missing? Money management. Parenting. Organization. Boundaries. Relationships. Or it’s possible you don’t know what’s wrong. Find a mentor or a helper. There are many motivating and helpful life coaches and teachers now. I know, these things cost money. Yes, they do. So does stress. Worry makes you sick. If you want to live longer and live healthier, find a way. Invest in an hour or more of their time. An emergency room visit will cost you much more.
Buy a book, audio or paperback. Take a class in money management. If you’re having difficulty with your teenager, don’t think you have to do the parenting thing on your own. Learn. You wouldn’t go skiing down a double black diamond mountain path without either some experience or a lot of stupidity, would you? Certainly not blindfolded. Life is not any different. There are also other avenues that are available. Some have tried hypnosis. There are many therapies, besides talk. I went to a yoga therapist who did work with the body and mind relationship.
Getting things done in a chaotic environment is sometimes difficult for me. Noise distractions. Here is a site that offers help Focus @ will. Purely used for mental focusing for a task at hand. Not a retraining program, but a temporary helper. They have a trial offer.
It’s not the leaps, sometimes we need the gentle nudges. We need to learn and relearn.
I just finished reading the book, Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges, by Amy Cuddy. I’d watched her TED talk previously and I was impressed. Her book is every bit as inspiring. My friend had told me about a recent episode on Grey’s Anatomy that demonstrated the Wonder Woman power pose in their show even, which I’ve put at the bottom of the blog. Wow, does this stuff permeate through our society or what?
Closing the Door
When I’m feeling overwhelmed and needing to find my strength, I close my eyes and picture an emptied space in a room. I mentally push everything away from me, leaving only a void. Emptiness. I can breathe. Think. I become still. I find that space inside of me. That’s my space. No one can enter but me. This is one of my coping strategies. Amy has others.
An incredible lesson I’ve learned over the last few years is, I can’t control my downstairs neighbor or my co-worker who wears too much perfume. But I can take actions to protect myself. I do empower myself. I protect my interest. When things get chaotic, such as overtime at work or if I’m not feeling well, I know I have to take care of my health. I take a day off. I turn off my phone. I tell people no. I ask for help. I negotiate with my boss. I talk with my coworkers if something is bothering me. We’re all human and we need to work together. Remember, you have rights too. Use them. Ask for what you want without a guilty residue.
Whether you like a green juice or you want to do a victory stance wearing the colors of your home country, it doesn’t matter. You don’t even need colors. Strike a pose such as Amy suggests. Hold that pose for at least two minutes. Try it. You’ll be amazed. Remain OPEN. Calm. Relaxed. Empowered. Alive.
Check out my book, Get Your Life Back Now, if you want to know more of what I have to say on the subject of self-empowerment.
Next week I’ll to talk about Nudges and Retraining our minds. I hope you have a great week!
Once upon a time, there were kings who wore bold crowns and royal robes that draped their bodies, dragging behind them as they walked the halls of their castles. You knew them by their clothing. They commanded armies of men, hundreds or thousand strong, ready to go war, freely spilling their blood. Uniforms carefully delineated with certain colors and styles. Everyone in their place. Genghis Khan anyone?
Crowns, Hats, & Applause
We still have crowns, hats, and applause to show us where we stand in the line of royalty. Just look around and it’s usually not too difficult to tell. The difference now is you now decide if you care enough to listen. There’s a falseness to most applause. The cheer is meant to herd you in the direction that pleases someone else. It doesn’t take me to the top of the mountain that I’m trying to climb. So boo or cheer all you want. I’m not a rebel in black or cute little girl in pink either. Check out I’m Not Good. Just a person with a vision.
Life is a series of false horizons
“But Life in general is just a series of false horizons and you never really feel like you got it all under control…. specially when you’re in an uncertain entrepreneurial career…. you really just don’t know what’s next….”Ed Helms – Off Camera
Are you feeling lost in your life? Remember your purpose. Even if it’s just a small step, start going in that direction again. I once heard a writer say, he didn’t mind if he hadn’t made it to the big times yet, as long as each choice he made brought him in closer to his goal.
There are plenty of posters and travel blogs promising bliss and restoration. Smooth, polished rocks, cascading waterfalls, and green plush grass are there for you. Rest and Restore. Leave your worries behind. Well, I chuckle. Life’s just not that convenient. Worries are like clingy little babies. They want to be fed, and they want only you. To remove them takes some conscious choice. Mindfulness.
Mad Max Highway
I drive the same short stretch of highway connections every day. People like me are jamming this interchange, just leaving work and wanting to go home as quickly as possible. Tired. Cranky. Maybe short on patience. Twice this week I’ve had the same thing happen. Two different people cut me off when there was an opening for me to enter a lane. Once it was my lane and the fellow thought I wasn’t quick enough I’m guessing, he passed me. The nerve! Both episodes I reacted poorly by speeding ahead, glaring or yelling. Something inside me quickened, warning me. Bad responses. Not that I might harm someone, but what if another, a third party, was injured. Was I willing to continue this same path? As I realized I wasn’t mindful or grateful, I noticed a large tire in the middle of the highway. Would I have hit it?
Allowing Stupid to Be Stupid
Last week I mentioned in Mindless Searching clicking through one book after another. I realized after twenty minutes had passed that I was not interested in any of the books I was looking at. I was in a trance. Mindfulness doesn’t happen by accident. It’s something I have to do. Pay attention. Watch the road. Stay calm. Let the anger go. Allow the stupid to be stupid and not even the score, because life isn’t fair.
Serendipity and Irony
I’m a passionate person, which is why I’m not good at just letting things slide. Some things can be planned, but there are a lot of stuff that just happen that are so much better if they happen on their own. For instance, the lemonade that I drank in Mexico. I couldn’t have planned that and made it taste any sweeter. And the memory of that day couldn’t bring me any more joy if I’d planned it.
When a moment happens and the events come together it seems perfect, as if you’d planned it, serendipitous. Athletes call it the flow or the zone. They’ve planned for it by practicing, maybe even visualizing. Who knows, that could be what happens to us when our lives have real things that fall into place. Ironic isn’t it?
Does anyone else find the whole flirting – connecting thing just a bit awkward? Here in the Southern United States, we tend to be friendly. Just like we sweeten our tea, we sweeten our language and everything around us. Lace, Doilies, Please and Thank you. And there’re a lot of friendly talks, even during a business transaction.
What I’ve noticed about myself.
When I’m at work, I can be friendly, joking around. It’s harder everywhere else. I know the people at work. I’m at home. What gives with that? Then I wonder am I confusing people by being too friendly?
When is it inappropriate?
What about the other side of the coin? Some people can’t turn the flirting off. They use their seduction to get what they want. They have affairs or sexually harass their coworkers. I once had a manager who creeped me out. He told my friend and me that we’d look cute in cheerleader costumes for Halloween.
What makes it flirting?
Here’s the problem. If you’re a bubbly personality, you might always be seen as flirting. I’ve had to deal with it. I smile, listen, laugh, and joke. I care. Real flirting is reaching out and connecting.
Some forms of flirting are more likely to be done in private, when no other observers are close enough to hear or see, suggests Elizabeth Bernstein, an award-winning columnist for the Wall Street Journal, in her article, “The New Rules of Flirting.” If someone asks a direct question such as, “Are you seeing anyone?” that person will likely ask that question privately. Beyond what a person says, a person may also communicate her attraction to you via a combination of vocal signals and body language. A seemingly simple line such as, “It’s nice meeting you,” can take on a romantically charged connotation if the speaker drags out the last word, while simultaneously raising her eyebrows and smiling — and if she hangs on to the handshake a few seconds longer.
Tell me what you think. Have you been accused of flirting? Or do you have trouble approaching people? It’s a cold cruel world sometimes and it shouldn’t be. Let’s try to make it a little nicer for each other if we can.
It’s a Janet thing. Or a more accurate title would be, it’s an experimental thing, but I just change it up quickly.
Success comes from trying and then trying again. Sometimes it seems you’re just banging your head against the wall, or spinning your wheels in the mud. I remember a time when I was about seven years old. My dad had an old red pickup truck that we drove on the farm. We had 100 acres of bottom land, and by bottom land I mean we lived right beside the river and parts of the land flooded when it rained. The mud seemed to suck your tires into the earth like an underground tornado. Hopeless.
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. – Scott Adams
I learned from watching Dad that it’s better to change tactics. Don’t keep spinning your wheels in the mud hoping to get out of the mud. You’ll only dig deeper in. If you notice that something isn’t right, if the feel is off, do it different. So I did. If the dress is too tight or the shoes pinch my toes, I don’t stand around and whine about it, I change them. I’m not happy in tight shoes. And I wasn’t happy with my book cover or title, so I changed them.
Like many women, by the time I’m finished dressing for an event, I have a pile of clothing on my bed that didn’t get picked. I also have several titles for my book that didn’t get selected. And since nothing happened that first week–I bet you didn’t even notice–as a woman’s prerogative, I pressed the reset button. Sigh. I love the modern world.
Quit – over thinking. Quit – trying to make it work. Quit – wishing, thinking, pushing, willing, trying so hard, all of those things that make you seem like a fish flopping on the shoreline, out of his comfort zone, out of his life zone. That’s not you. We all do this. We act like we’re afraid. We act like that poor fish, gasping for air. We are not desperate. We might be afraid, but we aren’t desperate.
I have so many questions sometimes when I try new things. I start with, I’m ready. I’m excited. I crouch down like the jumper at a sporting event and I’m ready to take off, but then the questions start. How much pressure do I need to push-off? Do I land on one foot or both? Do I dig in with my toes? You get the idea. So many questions that I start doubting if I can do it or if any of it can happen. Can I really make it work? Am I just daydreaming? We all go through this struggle. We worry. We fight the fear, then we fight the desire by telling ourselves, ‘Well, I don’t want it anyway.’ We try to shut the emotions down because they can be so raw. The open heart can feel so exposed.
I was sitting down with a guy I see regularly and without telling him anything he starts saying things such as, you know you can’t be happy unless you’re with someone who meets your needs. You have to have someone that lets you have room. In essence, it was all the things I’ve been mulling over in my head. Was he reading my mind? Sometimes I wonder. Is the world around me really just a hologram of my own making as the new-agers say? Matrix overload. Tilt. Tilt. Beep. Beep.
I’m afraid. I’m in the open, but I know I’m not alone here. I just have to wait. I did that thing I do so often, I got here early. I got over excited. How did I say that before? You can read that post here: Overeager.
Here are a few items I ran into in the process of writing this blog. I love how when you start pulling strings, the blanket starts coming towards you.
How much does it cost to feel well? What are you willing to give up to be free of pain? We know that healthcare doesn’t come cheap. Vitamins are expensive. Organic food is a bit extra so we weight the cost. Is it worth it for us? What about the medicine we take? That’s been my dilemma. But not so much about the cost. The medicine I’m taking, Topamax, helps prevent migraines. It’s also been helping in preventing my neck pain. The side effect for me is tiredness, fatigue. With each increase in dosage comes a bit of slowing down. So, my cost/ratio question is, how much pain prevention is it worth for me? How much slowing down can I adapt to?
For a while I didn’t know if I was going to make it each time my doctor kept saying, we’re going to try upping your medication. But on the flip side, I didn’t know if I was going to make it with the fire-like pain that was radiating up the nerves in my neck and my skull. I trudged and braced myself, hoping I could make it through another day, then the week. Sometimes there was a reprieve. Until now. I’ve had a full month without headaches. That’s darn good. Freakin’ amazing! It’s been close to 9 months since this process started and now I finally see the progress. The slowing down is worth it.
We live and change
This article though is a little disturbing to me. The trend towards constantly rewarding our happiness button, or shortening our attention span a bit more, is increasing instead of decreasing. I think we’d be happier as a species relaxing our attention and letting go, but that’s just me. Check out the article if you wish here, What would you pay to be happy? The Guardian.
…the poet Guillaume Apollinaire: “Now and then,” he advised, “it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” That’s worth a T-shirt.
William Davies’s The Happiness Industry, from the above article.
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