Monday, December 27, 2010

10 Questions to End the Year

This is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past year. Reflection of this sort should be all about YOU. Think of it as a self-analysis review. I’m not always successful in writing thoughts in a journal so my calendar helps greatly during this time. I am able to see what I have been doing in a quick overview. Your checkbook or budget might even give you a bit of insight as to what you have been up to! You may already have a pretty good idea as to what has taken up more time than you would have liked, and what you rather would have spent more time doing.

10 questions to help move you on your way…

Did you spend more time fighting fires?
How much time did you give to YOU?
Have you preened lately?
Did you pursue happiness?
Did you overdo-do-do it somewhere along the line?
Did you allow space for awareness?
Did you do those things you wanted to do?
Did you laugh often?
Did you give time to the people you wanted to give time to?
Are you wondering where all the time has gone?

3 thoughts to end the year on...

Instead of wasting time with television, texting, emails, surfing the net or whatever, turn it all off and allow yourself to just breathe and find the space within⎯the key to you is in that space. Don’t fill the space with debris!

This is not the time to feel regrets for what has past; after all, it is what it ismove on or get over it!

And last, but not least: 
Be grateful and consider gratitude as your closing statement for the year.

As the year comes to a close, know where you have been even if you do not know where you want to go. We all have the chance to make our lives better. Be grateful and know⎯your opportunities are endless…

What moves you along the way this time of the year?

Thank you for following my posts this year. It just gets better...see you in the new year...

Photo courtesy of Horia Varlan
© Copyright Michelle Clark 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Ultimate Gift ⎯ Is YOU!

Instead of presents this holiday season, let your focus be on your presence. I have found giving time to someone or a group of someone’s to be the best gift of all. It’s not merely the fact you are in attendance, but participating in what is going on around you. Before you get together with anyone⎯listen up…

3 simple tips to getting the most out of giving time to others:

If you are usually just taking up spacestart listening!
Okay, so you showed up for whatever you are attending. Instead of just sitting over in the corner counting the minutes until you leave, start listening to what people are saying⎯ whether you are interested or not. While attending functions where I knew very few people, I found if I listened to what was being said I would relax more and found an easy path into conversation. Listening is an art and takes time to learn to do it properly. So start by simply following the conversation and listening with an open mind and open heart. You just may learn something about the person you are listening to; moreover, you just may learn something about yourself.

If you are usually the talker⎯start listening!
Many people have a tendency to say too much. If you are getting together with others, make it a point to say less and listen more. People have the tendency to give more information than needed. This causes many to lose interest in what is being said. Be more concise and to the point⎯you may find folks more interested in what you have to say. If your gums aren’t flapping so much, you will have more time to listen to the conversation. And remember, not all silence needs to be filled with conversation⎯just simply listen to the silence between the words. It can really be quite calming depending on who you are with. Before my Dad died, we talked a lot; but moreover, I learned silence and the peace created between two people in that silence is a precious gift. Anyone you can sit and just be with without saying anything is someone you have a great comfort in.

If you are usually the listener ⎯ good for you, but start talking!
The next time you around other people, share in the conversation by making a comment once in awhile. When friends or family pick themselves up off the floor from shock, you may find you actually enjoy sharing in the conversation. Talk to someone you wouldn’t normally say anything to or share something about yourself with someone you know. You may find you have more in common with others than you thought. I have actually been quite surprised to learn more about the people in my life by sharing a part of me.

3 things listening is teaching me about myself and others:

Tolerance gives me an open-minded perspective and acceptance of others.

Patience fills me with a sense of serenity and calm, which carries into all aspects of my life.

Focus provides the space to make better decisions.

Don’t just pass time with people you are around, give time⎯not just this holiday season, but carry the giving into the next year. If you are unable to see someone you haven’t talked to in awhile⎯pick up the phone! Mark your calendar and once a month call someone you haven’t talked to. It will open the door and allow you to reconnect. And never forget⎯the ultimate gift any time of the year is YOU⎯just bring your presence!

My wish for you this holiday season:

Light – vision to see what is best for you
Tranquility – stillness to recognize what is in your best interest
Peace of Mind – in the face of discord or distress

Be Well!
© Copyright Michelle Clark 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Just What the Doctor Ordered...Giggles and Belly Laughs

The other day my husband, Dennis, replaced our broken toilet seat. Every time anyone lifted the lid on the new seat it squeaked. Neither of us had mentioned this fact to the other. After a week of squeaks, I decided I would fix it. I grabbed the WD-40 lubricant spray, hesitated slightly and sprayed away. When I lifted the seat to work the spray into the hinge the squeak was gone. It was now an even more irritating haunted house door opening kind of sound. I couldn’t believe it⎯so then I just started laughing. Each time I lifted or closed the seat I laughed that much more until the tears began streaming down my face and my belly hurt. With each lift of the seat the sound grew more irritating and I laughed even louder. I decided I would not say anything about it because sooner or later Dennis would know what was going on. Besides, I don’t think I could have said a thing without cracking up. You know the feeling when you try to tell someone something funny but can’t keep a straight face, and pretty soon the person can’t even figure out what you are saying because you are laughing so hard. So, I waited…

That night as we were heading to bed, I heard the loud screeching. Of course I am smiling and giggling but trying to not be heard. As Dennis was coming out of the bathroom he looked right at me and said, “You’ve had the WD-40 out again!” Yes, I have a previous history with WD. That is why I hesitated momentarily before I sprayed the seat hinge. I have two go-to things when it comes to repairs⎯WD-40 and duct tape. Since this wasn’t a duct tape kind of job, of course I’m going to grab the good old WD. You see we still have a door that will not stay open because I WD’d the hinge pin. Dennis just shook his head as he headed for the bed. By this time, I’m at full giggle mode and pretty soon a knowing smile spread across his face.

The next morning, as I lifted the screeching seat, I just started laughing all over again. Now, anytime I pass the bathroom I am compelled to see if the screech has improved, and yes, I start to get the giggles. Maybe we will just leave it as is for now.

Giggles and belly laughs are just plain good for you. I am sure Dennis and I will share this giggle as time passes like we have with many other moments of our lives. Even just recalling an occurrence when you are lost in giggles and belly laughs makes you smile. We need more of those moments so we may recall them when we are in a belly laugh deficit⎯and that I think is just what the doctor ordered.

© Copyright Michelle Clark 2010
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Why Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Poorly

A comment from Renee Quistorf on the November 22 post, Holiday Attitude Shakeup, got me thinking. She mentioned something she was told by a therapist, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.” Initially, I tried to grasp what the therapist was really saying, or what it might mean to me. In some circles, I am probably known as a perfectionist⎯yes it’s true! Now, perfectionism is another topic for another time, but hold on to that thought. Let’s just say I am aware of this particular issue and work hard at accepting what is⎯as in it is what it is. Nice how I worked that in, huh! Continuing on…

So, considering doing anything poorly was not on my radar. Poorly brings up words like badly, inadequately and unsatisfactorily. Those are not words a perfectionist brings to the table. Then it hit me, are you good enough? Now, that is a question I have asked myself many times over the years, and my answer has always been⎯YES, damn right I’m good enough!

I’ve always loved participating in various sports. As a kid I knew I wasn’t the best, but I was good enough. The teams I participated in didn’t always win and I didn’t necessarily cross the finish line in first place, but I was good enough. I was reminded of this as an adult when asked to compete in team triathlons when I was in my thirties. I swim laps in a pool⎯I’m a swimmer. Put me in the water and I just go. The owner of the gym I worked-out at was putting together a team for a local triathlon competition, and asked if I would be interested in the swim leg. I had never done anything like that and wasn’t really sure about swimming in a sea of people. The distance was not a problem for me so I told him, “I’m not fast, but I’m steady. I won’t necessarily be in the first group, but I won’t be in the last group.” As I stood in a mass of humanity at the edge of the lake I heard myself saying, “What was I thinking?” As the gun fired, off we went. I was slapped, kicked and swam-over. I lifted my head to get my bearings and saw that most people were not really swimming at all. So I stuck my face back down in the water and slapped, kicked and swam over as many people as possible. When I finally made it out of the lake, there were a lot of people left behind me. In the end, the team I was on finished in first place! Not too shabby for “good enough,” or perhaps I felt it was something worth doing whether I did poorly or not.

Renee’s comment reminded me how far I have come since my triathlon days. I am accepting who I am and whatever I do⎯even if perfect doesn’t enter into it. I still hear the sound of fingernails on a blackboard when considering the word poorly, but good enough works for me. Being good enough has allowed me to try the unknown, swim through a mass of humanity and step off that cliff and fly. In the end, at least I tried. It is in the trying where we get out of our ruts, it is in the trying where we learn more about our potential and ourselves. Being good enough allows me to simply be. How about you, are you good enough? If it is worth doing, is it worth doing poorly? Think about this…one man’s poorly may just be another’s infusion of light. Thank you Renee for reminding us of this.

© Copyright Michelle Clark 2010