Archive for ◊ February, 2010 ◊

25 Feb 2010 Lesson #1: Don’t Buy Cheap Crayons!
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Week 5 of “Celebrate 50!”, an Intentional Living Project

I was watching for the right time to do this week’s activity.  I got started on it yesterday, but it turns out it wasn’t the right time…today would present a better use of this intentional living activity, #8, Color!  I found that at noon today my head was, in highly technical psychological terms, all discombobulated. I had a bunch of thoughts swirling around and considered recruiting someone to just slap me to get my head screwed back on straight!  I also had just been outside doing a few things to prepare for the impending snow storm.  So the stage seemed set: this would be the perfect time to snuggle up with a nice hot cup of coffee, gaze out at the snowfall, and color.  Lunch time at it’s best. 

When I put this activity on the list, I actually thought when the time came that I may end up thinking this was a pretty silly choice and feel pretty dumb doing it.  I surprised myself though.  It turned out to actually be a pretty cool thing.  I got involved in the coloring and it ended up clearing my head, giving me some distance, clarity, and perspective.  In the world of my wellness work I would call that getting me back into the Green Zone.  But really, the zones are more about stress levels.  I wasn’t stressed, I just was too much “in my head”.  And this little baby pulled me back into my body.  I think it was the physical nature of holding the crayon, seeing the color, etc.  And also it disengaged my brain from the swirl.  I got involved in the goal of finishing the picture.

 So let me tell you what happened.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

First, a few days ago, I bought cheap crayons and a coloring book.  Yesterday morning I set up to begin my coloring project.  But the crayons were garbage.  Hardly no color to them.  See exhibit A !  So I went back to the store in the evening and bought genuine Crayola’s.  While the actual coloring was engaging and calming, the buying of the crayons was actually pretty fun… OK..if you don’t set high fun expectations! & let yourself have fun in all the little moments of life.  So I evaluated all the options…8, 16, 48, 72..then I saw this box of 120.  Yeah!  Go for it.  And also decided to try out the pack of 50 markers.  What the heck.

color exhibit B

Exhibit B

 So today, when I would get more out of this activity than I would have yesterday, I started again.  I love how life works that way, don’t you?  Coffee.  Coloring book.  Crayons.  Markers.  Music..the sound track from French Kiss.  Can you see it?  Decided to finish the page with the crummy crayons for comparison.  I found myself trying to find the “right” color to make sure the picture would reflect how these things occur in nature…that perfectionistic part of me coming through.  I told myself, on the next picture I would make myself color things in any old color…be wild!  Then I opened my box of 120 crayola’s..eager anticipation.  All those color choices so I could go wild.  I had never seen a box of 120!  Big let down.  Turned out inside the box there were 2 boxes of 48 and a box of 24..all strange colors…which was perfect!  I couldn’t even color them the “right” color if I had wanted to! 

color exhibit c

Exhibit C

As you can see from Exhibit B, though, I didn’t stray far.  On to the final page..coloring with markers. I thought I would enjoy the vibrancy of the colors the most…I did, but the perfectionism in me didn’t care for the unforgiving nature of markers.  But finally, by page 3, Exhibit C,  I was a little more willing to try any old color that I happened to have in my hand.

So what did I learn from this silly coloring project?  A lot actually.

  1. Don’t buy cheap crayons.  They don’t color well..more wax than color.  And they don’t even have names on them, which you’ve got to admit, is part of the fun of crayons!
  2. It took till the 3rd page to let go of the coloring “rules” I set up, FOR MYSELF!
  3. It was self-calming and mind-clearing to get lost in silly childhood coloring.
  4. I was able to color intentionally, without feeling like it was a waste of time.  I was able to stay focused on the moment and make it all it could be.
  5. I will be adding coloring to the Yellow level of my Red Light Plan as an option for helping me de-stress from a moderate stress level (Yellow)
  6. I will keep coloring as an option for a slow down activity.  Principle #9 of my Energy Equation wellness principles is to Slow Down.  I learned the hard way why it’s so important to build some slow down time into each day.

OK..here’s my challenge to you.  Can you color and do it WITHOUT feeling it’s a waste of time?  Take the challenge and let me know what you thought of it.  Post your project if you can.  I am new to blogs so am not sure if you can do that or not.  Oh, and by the way, coloring with your kids or grandkids doesn’t count.  You have to sit down and intentionally do this for yourself.  Got it?

OH..for additional incentive.  Turns out Crayola has this new cool thing to “transform your photos into coloring pages”.  It will drain the color out of your photo so you can color your own photo.  Code “kjmkhlwq”.

17 Feb 2010 Week 4: Watch an all-time favorite movie

Let me tell you about this list of 50 activities to do over the year.  There are a lot of different kinds of activities on this list..some need to be planned in advance, some can be done at a moment’s notice.  Others will be synchronicities…I will have a watchful eye open all year for the opportunity to do some of these things..and one day the timing, situation, and all other factors will align in perfect unity and I will know the time is right for that one.  So…this is a dynamic process…very fluid…always staying tuned in for the right one to pull for the right time and opportunity. 

So what I am doing is making a back-up plan…have an activity waiting in the wings that I will plan on doing unless/until  a synergistic event supersedes the plan!  As I watch life unfold, I think God must get some good laughs about all the plans we make!  Years ago I learned the hard way that life is what happens while we are busy making plans!  I am now flexible.  I go with the flow.  I have a tentative direction, but I stayed tuned all day long to see if mid-course corrections are in order.

SO!  I had been thinking I might do #6 on the list (that’s right…you don’t know what #6 is..I haven’t released “the master list” so you can enjoy the element of surprise..makes it more fun!), but then life intervened and it became apparent I needed to do #48.

But speaking of #6..that reminds me of story that Wayne Dyer tells on one of his CD’s  “The Power of Intention:  Learning to Co-Create Your World Your Way”     Rule Number 6:

Power of Intention 2Two prime ministers are sitting in a room discussing affairs of state. Suddenly a man bursts in, apoplectic with fury, shouting and stamping and banging his fist on the desk. The resident prime minister admonishes him: “Peter,” he says, “kindly remember Rule Number 6,” whereupon Peter is instantly restored to complete calm, apologizes, and withdraws. The politicians return to their conversation, only to be interrupted yet again twenty minutes later by an hysterical woman gesticulating wildly, her hair flying. Again the intruder is greeted with the words: “Marie, please remember Rule Number 6.” Complete calm descends once more, and she too withdraws with a bow and an apology. When the scene is repeated for a third time, the visiting prime minister addresses his colleague: “My dear friend, I’ve seen many things in my life, but never anything as remarkable as this. Would you be willing to share with me the secret of Rule Number 6?” “Very simple,” replies the resident prime minister. “Rule Number 6 is ‘Don’t take yourself so damn seriously.’” “Ah,” says his visitor, “that is a fine rule.” After a moment of pondering, he inquires, “And what, may I ask, are the other rules?”  “There aren’t any.”

Pretty good, eh?  But back to my list and week #4.

I do my best to stay in tune with my emotions throughout the day…I make it really simple.   Am I feeling “good” or “not so good/bad”?  If I am feeling any emotion that feels good (peace, joy, etc)..I am all set.   If I am not feeling any emotion that doesn’t feel good (anger, frustration, fear..you get the idea)… I note any “bad” feelings as soon as they appear and take immediate, definitive action to eliminate them.  I learned the hard way…”bad” feelings create a stress response in the body..stress mounts and leads to illness as well as the loss of energy, peace, joy, and life balance.

Well, I noticed that I was feeling, let’s say…edgy… kind of snotty, put out, frustrated and a little bit angry.  That didn’t feel good so I wanted out of it right away.  One of the things I do proactively to get myself out of a moderate stress level is “movie therapy”.   Movies do a nice job of distracting us, and they are long enough for the stress buzz to settle down so when the movie is over.. voilà.  We are thinking more clearly and everything doesn’t seem so bad…stress chemicals have stabilized.

vineyard 4]Therefore…I changed plans and went with #48, which is to watch an all time favorite movie.  I watched “French Kiss”.  I LOVE that movie.  It always makes me laugh.  And in some ways, it just feels good for my soul.  My mother was entirely of French descent so I have a lot of roots in France…it’s as though sometimes my spirit wants to return to the French countryside.  The movie was like going home..my little escape to the vineyards of France.

What’s your favorite cure for those nagging “nose is out of joint” times?

11 Feb 2010 Gift-Giving…to Yourself!

Week 3 of Project “Celebrate 50!”

OK…Now I’m on a roll!  Week  three and counting!

This week’s intentional living activity was about gifting…to oneself, because I am in charge of making my life everything I want it to be.  Why do other people have to buy us presents??  Why can’t I do that for myself?? 

Several years ago when I was going through essentially a re-birth in nearly every aspect of my life, it occurred to me that I was often dis-empowering myself by putting others in charge of making me feel good about myself, making me feel happy, making my life fun, making my birthday special, etc, ad naueseam.  Not only did that put a not-asked-for burden upon someone else, it also made me powerless and helpless in my life.  So I decided:  It’s MY life…I should be the one responsible for making it what I want it to be.  And the kicker was…I was the only person keeping me from doing it.  That revelation became the cornerstone of my future life’s work.

So many people ask me how I transformed my life in such little time, wanting to know how I did it…see my WEWS TV interview about it….that I developed a stress-free living, transform your life, wellness model I call The Energy Equation, and Take Back Your Power is Principle #1.

One way I take my power back is to not look to my family to make my birthday special.  I used to sometimes feel disappointed if my husband and sons didn’t make my birthday special “enough” for me.  Well that was just plain silly and counterproductive.  So years ago I began to take my power back and took responsibility to make my birthday everything I wanted it to be..for myself!  So I do my best to take my birthday off of work and plan a day full of fun for myself.  And often, I also buy myself a special birthday present.

This year I decided to buy myself…drum roll…a remote start for my car!  Just after I got it installed I sent a text to my husband “Oh yeah baby…I am gonna love this birthday present to me!”  Now for those of you who don’t live in the snow belt, you might not fully appreciate the full excitement this gift promises:) but I sure do.

Pineridge snow

Yesterday I had a perfect opportunity to begin what is sure to be my love affair with this little baby.  As I ran into a store I recalled the bonus lesson the installer shared with me:  “And it’s great for when you have to run a quick errand..just leave the car running..it’s locked”.  SO, I left my locked, heated car running while I ran into the store, and came back out to a toasty car, but even better….because the defrosters were on, I didn’t have to clean the car off again.  Oh yeah, gift giving to oneself is THE way to go!

How do you take back your power in your life?  Talk to me.  We all learn from each other.

02 Feb 2010 Nothing like visiting with an old friend
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Week 2 of project “Celebrate 50!”

Yesterday I had lunch with a friend I haven’t had the opportunity to spend time with for more than 2 years.  What joy it brought to my heart to live my values.  After faith and family, I value the wonderful people who have been brought into my life by all of life’s twists, turns, and interesting intersections.  I am so grateful for these fascinating people and experiences.  My investment of time and spirit brings me exponential returns.  I find friendship so interesting.  I really believe there are certain people we are meant to meet.  I have one friend who I met three times before we finally became friends.  I think that friendship just had to be & that I would have continued bumping into this person until a friendship was forged.  Do you have people who just keep turning up in your life?

01 Feb 2010 Hello world! I’m Celebrating 50!
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In the days leading up to my 50th birthday – last Wednesday, January 27 –  I couldn’t help but give some thought to my age. After all, this is a big year. I was passing the half century mark, a point where many people start to wind down and become complacent.  

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m just getting started. My life has changed dramatically in the last ten years, with so many exciting opportunities and life-enhancing experiences that all occurred between age 40 and now. And, although I’ve done a lot, there is just so much more left for me to experience.  I am excited to see what the next ten years will bring.

I decided that I wanted to mark this progress and crossroad by celebrating all year long, with intentionality, making the most of every moment and living life to the fullest. So to start my second fifty years off with a bang, I made a list of 50 different experiences and activities that I intend to accomplish over the next 51 weeks.  Some are things I’ve never done before.  Some are things I want to do more often.  The list is simply a way for me to maximize more moments of my life, directing my energy toward the things that matter most to me.

I am calling this project “Celebrate 50!” and will be blogging about my progress each week. 

I checked off my first item on my birthday.  I got my first facial.  Decadent!!