I went dark. A series of life challenges came at me hard, and I went into self protect mode. Hibernation. I am just so grateful for the work I have done up until this point in my life. The life lessons, like you are not in control, you can’t ever get in someone else’s head, things happen- good, bad that’s all how we define it.
I know that if I close up and stop trusting, it counteracts every fiber of my true being. Life happens. Stuff is hard. You will be presented with lessons again and again, until you get it. Then there may be a moment of peace, and then it starts again. The only thing I or anyone can control is themselves. That’s a hard lesson. One I keep learning.
This could be your last day here on earth. It could be the last time you speak to someone you love, the last time you give a hug and say have a good day, the last lunch you pack. You may be lucky/unlucky enough to get a warning in the form of a diagnosis or an illness, but you may not. You could get hit by a car, choke on your sandwich, struck down by an aneurysm or a heart attack. We are all in the process of getting closer and closer to our exit from this existence. Let this be a reminder not to waste your precious time being angry at someone, to make that phone call, to say I love you, to give your gratitude and thanks. We are here in this form on a temporary basis, everything is always changing and moving closer to going back to the earth, us included.
What if we are here to fully enjoy and experience all that this physical world has to offer? What if we are not supposed to take everything so seriously and instead be joyful? What if you approached every day, every interaction, remembering this simple truth, that every moment is a gift.
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. – William Arthur Ward
a state or period of uncontrolled excitement or wild behavior.
It can be hard not to get caught up in it. We have such a strong instinct to fit in and be like everyone around us that when we see everyone standing in line to get the newest iphone or the last cabbage patch doll or at that hot new restaurant and we don’t want to miss out. Sharks go into feeding frenzies, and the situation at the mall or Target or on the roads today may be the same. The search for the perfect gift that is thoughtful and in your budget, that will show the special someones in your life that you are thinking of them can cause the most stoic of individuals to break out into hives. Trust me, I am speaking from experience.
As we head into the last day, the last hours before the stillness of a national holiday descends, I am reminded that the urge to spend, to shop, to buy, is made more urgent by not only the media, but by our collective energy. I am doing my part to remain calm and not get pulled into the frenzy. The compounding self induced stress of getting the right gift or creating the perfect holiday is just that, self induced. The best gift is not at the mall or online or even at the jewelry store, it is right inside you. It is the gift of your presence, your undivided attention and love, of unconditional acceptance. Practice giving that.
Rule number one to getting to the root of the issue or creating change. If you tell someone what to do you can create soldiers. Obedient non thinkers who follow the rules and carry out the mission, sometimes necessary, but often not. If you instead ask what they think the solution is, or how they think they are doing, or how they can make it better, it’s coming from them. You are stimulating the part of their brain that has to look for an answer. And then it is true. If I tell you the answer you may doubt me, but if you tell me, it becomes the truth.
It doesn’t work. Even if I am tired because I had a rough night, or I was up too late finishing the reports, or the puppy woke me up early. It doesn’t work to give less today and make up for it tomorrow. We can never give more than 100%. 100% is bringing all you have to the table. If I give 60% today, and think, “Well, it’s okay, I will just give 140% tomorrow and we will be all good”, it won’t work. There is no 140%, not even 110%. Every day give your all if you want to be outstanding, otherwise those 60’s will stack and soon you will just be average.
When my kids were little they were fascinated with these little capsules that when soaked in warm water, would emerge as tiny sponge animals. You never knew what you would get, it could be a red giraffe or a green frog or a yellow bird. The law of nature is that you cannot reap without sowing. Sometimes the harvest is instant, like the sponge. Most often you see this as the instant karma of a quickly escalating argument after a sharp word, or the ripple effect of waking up on the wrong side of the bed. But usually the crop takes a while to mature. It takes time for the seeds to germinate, and to begin to bring back what you intend them to. This is why it is so important to give first, before you expect to receive, and even more importantly, to give without expecting to receive. If you don’t like what you are reaping, look back at where it started, and begin a new crop.
As we enter the last month of 2017, I am spending more time reflecting. Thinking back over the year and remembering the lessons. I know that if I can’t see the lessons I have learned this year, I am destined to repeat them next year. I want to make sure I extract the gold from the tough times, the aha’s, the insights. My process is to capture them in writing, and in the process I realize how much happens in a year. Time is a strange thing, when you are waiting to turn 16, or 18, or 21 it seems to take forever. When you have a vacation planned, or a big goal set for the future, time can seem to move so slowly as you wait for it to arrive. However, when I look back through the year I am always taken by surprised that things that happened 6 months ago can seem like 2 years have passed.
So here I sit, with a blank sheet of paper and a pen. I find a quiet space and say a prayer of thanks to God, to the Universe, to my body, for the ability to see, to write, to remember and to think.
Step One: I brainstorm all of the lessons I can remember from this year, mentally going month by month through the year.
Step Two: I get my phone and open up my pictures app. I scroll back to January, and look through all of the photos. I begin a second list of all of the things I am grateful for, triggered by the photos and memories stored in my little device. This also brings more lessons to the forefront, so I have 2 lists going simultaneously now.
Step Three: I go through my 2017 calendar, and here comes another wave of memories, lessons and gratitudes
I date and sign the paper, and set it aside. I will bring it out again next week, early in the morning, in a quiet place, and read it. What is amazing is that when I read it next, with a fresh mind, it will bring back all the lessons and feelings of gratitude, and I will be in the perfect place to plan out an amazing 2018.
As I sit here at my desk today I have a brand new puppy on my lap. He is proving to be a great reminder that no matter how much we think we know what the future will hold, we are often wrong. I didn’t anticipate the impulsive decision to drive over 8 hours away to bring a new addition home to our family. I didn’t foresee how he would endear himself to me in such a short time. I didn’t remember that a puppy is much like a newborn and requires time, energy and attention to care for and train him. Yet, here we are. Thankfully he is an adorable disruption to my plans, yet he is a disruption nonetheless. Life often takes a turn you don’t expect. I am reminded that adjusting to these turns is what determines the level of peace, joy and acceptance in my life.
The house is quiet, the internet is fast. There is no traffic, and a feeling of stillness is all around. All over the nation today cooks have risen early to begin the preparations. Some are grateful to have a day off, others are grateful to be busy working. Some are looking forward to spending time with family and friends, others are dreading it, some are lonely, some overwhelmed. We are reminded today to be grateful, on this day of Thanksgiving. It is the beginning of the time of the year when many are suddenly aware of how blessed we are. The desire to give back, to volunteer, to share our abundance is kindled. Is it possible to capture that feeling and to carry it through the year? The feeling that you get when you are grateful, when you have given something of your own, when you have helped another with no expectation of reciprocation. It feels like peace, like love, it feels good. It’s a feeling that belongs to all of us, it’s there always as a product of choosing to say a heartfelt thank you every day for the opportunity to live another day, no matter what the world brings into your life.
Thank you for reading, for being interested in what is unfolding in life for me, for hopefully taking one thought with you throughout your day and making your world a little brighter. Thank you!
Family can be and is for me more than my immediate, more than my husband, my kids, my siblings. Family is also the people I am leading. How can one expect anyone to allow you to lead them if they don’t first know you love and care about them? All the talk, the training, the success, the do it like this, mean nothing. No one cares, not unless they know you care about them. The almost 100 people in our organization plus my immediate family, all working in unison day after day, are the pulse, the energy, and the momentum that pushes me forward to grow and learn. I have been so blessed to be able to achieve my dreams of success, my dreams of financial security, my dreams of owning a business. And what I have learned is that none of it matters unless it is shared.
This means treating your team like family, and not some disfunctional group that doesn’t talk to each other. Like a close knit family that holds hands to give thanks together, that is there for each other when one is in need, and also that knows what helps and what hurts. Sometimes it means second chances, sometimes it means tough love, sometimes it means swallowing your pride, but it always means love.