Monday, April 30, 2012

May: I Intend to Turn My World Upside Down

I am a very routine oriented person. I actually feel better when I get up, eat and head to bed about the same times each day. I find that routine helps me work discipline into my life; otherwise, I would lack the structure I need to keep up with the housekeeping or do my workout routines⎯aha, there’s that word again. Could routine be getting in my way though?

I am so routine oriented, I just might miss out on something better, fun, new or just plain different.

Spring is always a great time to start something new, so this month I intend to change my routine and tweak it just a bit. No longer will my routine be repetitive, predictable or monotonous. Here are a few routine busters I am considering:

  • Brush my teeth with the opposite hand - this will force my brain to think differently, it will be good for building better coordination and not to mention having a good laugh.
  • Drive, walk or run a different route to work, home or wherever - who knows what I'll discover just around the corner?
  • Shop for groceries or clothing at a different store - I might find something I have been searching for.
  • Try a new recipe - it could become a new favorite.
  • Eat dessert first - I know, it will spoil my meal⎯oh well!
  • Order a menu item I wouldn’t normally consider - expanding my tastes sounds good to me.
  • Completely change whatever I had planned on doing - what a surprise!

This intention will not only tweak my brain, but also pave the way for changes. Who knows what fun I’ll have this month turning my world upside down. You can turn your world upside down too by starting each day with the thought: I intend to turn my world upside down. This intention is guaranteed to breathe new life into the old repetitive, predictable and monotonous routines. What will your routine busters be?

Photo courtesy of Care_SMC

Monday, April 23, 2012

Words to Live By

Before you say anything, ask yourself:
Is it kind? Is it true? Is it useful?
(Buddhist principle)

It is the simplicity of this principle that drives it home to my very core. As I consider it, I have to ask myself why I might even think of saying something unkind, not true or not useful? What is my intention? When I do this, I learn more about who I am, then I can ask myself if this is who I want to be?

When I focus on my intention, at any given time, it wakes me up. Words have the ability to fill me with motivation or not⎯it is my choice. Wake up and join me⎯find the motivation behind the words. Simply ask yourself:

Is it kind?
Is it true?
Is it useful?

Photo courtesy of Helga Weber

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Back to the Table

As I was enjoying waffles bathed in real maple syrup this morning, I thought back to a Teflon coated waffle iron we had received in the 1970’s as a wedding gift. I loved the waffles my mom and Grandma Mary used to make. Any waffles I had from my childhood slid right off the surface of the non-Teflon griddles. Instead, my waffles cooked right into this non-stick surface. If you haven’t chipped away at waffles cooked into a griddle, you have no idea how awful a waffle can be. I tried different recipes and different oiling techniques for the non-stick⎯ha, surface. I discussed my waffle madness problems with my mom and my grandma, and still I was chipping away at my awful-waffle iron. It was so horrific to clean this thing, I finally threw it away. So, I made pancakes instead.

Years passed, my grandma passed, and I now have her waffle iron. This waffle iron is a 1929 Hotpoint/General Electric chrome griddle, which sits on a chrome tray with butterscotch Bakelite handles and the original electric cord⎯it’s a beauty. Yes, I said 1929! I know this because my grandma always said it was as old as my uncle. I’ve used the griddle for years now. I never have had to oil it, as it is well seasoned and makes perfect waffles every time.

Whenever I use this griddle, I think of my grandma, I think of little me sitting at the blue Formica and chrome kitchen table eagerly awaiting a waffle on my plate, I think of my uncle as a baby from pictures my grandpa had taken and how glad I am to still have my uncle in my life, and I think of all the wonderful waffles my family has enjoyed over the years. It is such a simple thing⎯a waffle, but it has brought many a family member to the table over the years. That is something we seem to have less of. Perhaps it is time to get family back to the table. Perhaps it is time to serve up a well-seasoned waffle, pancake or whatever and start a new tradition; one that someone, like me, can remember even after my well-seasoned grandma has passed.
Photo courtesy of Brendan C

Monday, April 9, 2012

Balancing Act

I had one of those vivid dreams where everything is so detailed and real that you can’t stop thinking about it after you wake up...
I was at a large, dirty industrial site with offices in all sorts of different buildings. I checked into the front office and was told someone would show me how to change the oil in my car, and no I hadn’t been worrying about getting my oil changed. I was taken to a different office and was the only one in the room. I started organizing my things on a desk⎯for some reason. Later, someone came to take me to a new location. I hurriedly cleared the desk and gathered my things. I found myself sitting in yet another office by myself. I again started organizing my things on a desk. This pattern continued throughout the day only I had less time to get myself organized with each move I made. In the last office I realized it was getting dark, people had gone home and I still hadn’t learned how to change my oil. I woke up feeling confused and upset.
There was no big climatic ending, but as I continued to think about the dream⎯it finally dawned on me what it might mean:

I was so busy organizing, I somehow missed out on what was actually going on around me
I used the organizing so I didn’t have to deal with something else

Case in point⎯my book is written, and I find I keep organizing it, as it were, and not addressing the publishing aspect because it makes my head spin.

I am thinking that it’s one thing to unclutter my world and perhaps put a bit more organization into my life in order to move forward, but anything done obsessively is not good for anyone. There must be a balance. It is up to me to find the balance so I don’t miss out on what is going on around me, so I don’t use organizing in place of what I actually should be doing and so I don't waste valuable time trying to figure out what foot to stand on...

I will find a way to address the book publishing⎯break it down into smaller pieces and find my balance. What are your dreams trying to tell you?

Photo courtesy of star5112

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April: I Intend to Unclutter My World

I will use the momentum I gained after last month’s intention of giving myself time to roll that intention into April. I will be giving myself time to unclutter my world in this year of intentional thinking.

An organized mindset allows my life to fall into place

Now that my spring fever is in full swing, I think it is a good time to clear out the old and allow the new to shine through. Like pulling weeds and debris off plants languishing underneath⎯allowing the new to shine through can be a metaphor for life, not just a garden task. That means getting rid of what I don’t need, and focusing on what I do need. I can think of a closet or two that will certainly get attention this month, but I also must consider clearing out anything toxic or negative from my mind, from my life. In other words, uncluttering my world includes the mental clutter taking up space and not just the things behind the closet door.

Disorganization is often driven by anxiety and fear.
 Paul Hammerness, MD

I think it is important to keep this concept simple. I understand the principal behind the uncluttering of my world, but it is easy to overlook the obvious and just keep the door closed. It is a constant process to keep on top of many things in life. I find it is okay to let things go from time to time until, that is, it is time to take control once again. This month that is just what I plan on doing, and I will remind myself of this each morning with, "I intend to unclutter my world."  I will embrace an organized mindset and allow my life to fall into place. How about you? Can you move beyond the anxiety and fear? Can you pull the weeds and debris off and allow the new to shine through?

Photo courtesy of Deb Collins