Reviving Those Forgotten New Year’s Resolutions

I was putting away my summer clothes when it hit me…I’ve only got three months left to work on my 2012 goals! Where did I put those resolutions? Ah! They are pinned to the cork board in the office.

 

As I review my list I noticed that my results were mixed. I have met three of my goals, made progress on others and have totally forgotten about the rest. Overall, I am happy to see that  I continued to work on my annual goals and still have time left to make more progress. For me, working towards a goal and celebrating small incremental successes is just as important as reaching the final goal. But, there is that competitive side of me that will be very disappointed if I don’t make it.

 

I am sharing my five incomplete goals with you as a way of keeping myself motivated. I need every bit of motivation because, you see, October, November and December are the most difficult months for me to stay on exercise, healthy-eating and stress-reducing goals. However, I know that if I can celebrate incremental successes over the next three months, the New Year will find me in a much improved mental, emotional and physical state. So here they are:

 

 

Goal #1

Run 300 miles – I have run 137 miles so far this year. I am a bit behind and will have to run 13.75 miles per week in order to meet my goal.

 

Goal #2

Run a 5K – incomplete. I can sign up for one before the end of the year.

 

Goal #3

Lose 10 pounds – I have lost five. It took six months to get the first five pounds off. The scale seems to be stuck now. I’ll keep trying.

 

Goal #4

Develop arm and shoulder definition – one of the goals I had forgotten about. Will definitely use the weights more and do some push ups.

 

Goal #5

Meditate at least twice per week –  I forgot about this one too, but I have gotten into a routine that gives me time to meditate and recharge. I have to work on being consistent.

 

 How are you doing on your resolutions? Are you part of the way there? Did you complete some? Congratulations! If you haven’t started, or haven’t worked on them for a while, please join me to make the last three months of the year very productive. I’m off to find my dumbbells!

 

Much Love,

 

 

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Do You Have a Bucket List?

The bucket list is a relatively new concept for me. Again, as I said in Lost in Translation, we English learners may not get “it” because we don’t always know the cultural meaning of certain phrases…like kicking the bucket, which takes me back to the bucket list. Some people have an actual list of things that they want to experience before they leave this earth! Though there are a couple things that I have dreamed of doing “someday,”  they did not have that note of urgency that a deadline adds (pardon the pun).

I don’t know anyone who enjoys thinking about their death. In fact, we avoid thinking about death at all costs. It is the one thing in life that we cannot overcome, and the one thing that every human will get to, regardless of how much money, education, achievements or awards we have. Perhaps that’s why I had not thought about what it was I wanted to do before I die. But, what I like about creating a bucket list is that it’s not about the dying but rather about living. With my bucket list I acknowledge that I won’t live forever and commit to taking time from the day-to-day stuff and do and experience things that will enrich my life.

If you have read a few of my blogs, you know that I love lists. Lists keep me organized and help me stay productive and focused. Creating a bucket list is going to be new for me but I’m up to the task. Here it goes, the first twenty-five items on my newly-minted bucket list.

  1. Enjoy a café au-lait,pain et fromage breakfast in France (been dreaming of this since high school)
  2. Take in the view of Paris from the Eiffel Tower at twilight
  3. Learn to play the piano
  4. Go on a safari
  5. Become a master at baking breads, cakes and pies
  6. Go on a hot-air balloon ride to view the fall foliage
  7. Snorkel in Roatan, Honduras
  8. Establish a scholarship at my high school
  9. Take a week-long spiritual retreat
  10. Zip line through the tree tops of Costa Rica
  11. Stay at a dude ranch and milk the cows
  12. Learn to cook Thai dishes
  13. Welcome the new year in Time’s Square with hundreds of people
  14. Write a book
  15. Complete the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage in northern Spain
  16. Take a cruise in the Mediterranean
  17. Ride in a gondola in Venice while singing O Sole Mio at the top of my lungs
  18. Visit every beach in Puerto Rico
  19. Go wine tasting in Chile and Argentina
  20. Go to Banos in Ecuador and soak in a natural hot mud bath
  21. Dance on the beaches of Hawaii wearing a grass skirt
  22. Organize a weekend getaway to New York city with my friends
  23. Meet my spiritual guides
  24. Have a radio show
  25. Learn to dance salsa – the real way

Do you have a bucket list? If you don’t, there are several sites on the web that offer hundreds of ideas for bucket lists. If you have one, what’s the one thing that you most look forward to doing?

Much Love,

Good Things Happen While We Wait

20 seconds. 40 seconds. 1 minute! This is the longest red light EVER!! It’s 9:57 a.m., and I am stuck behind a truck on L Street. There are five pedestrians already in the intersection so the truck will have to wait until they get across before turning right. And me, I have to wait. 9:58 and there are two more lights to go before I enter my garage. C’mon, c’mon! Finally, the truck turns and if I time it right, I can push that big yellow button and get my parking ticket by 10 o’clock and save $4.

I don’t like waiting. Let me rephrase:  I really really don’t like waiting. Sometimes I wish I had a universal remote control that I could press to fast-forward through those unproductive moments of waiting. Customer service calls, the lines at Marshall’s, times in the doctor’s office with only my thoughts and a paper gown, the time to get pizza delivered, the weeks before vacation, or the time for my stuff to arrive when I didn’t pay the extra $8 for next-day delivery – all would be gone. Aaah – bliss!

Of course, I know I’m not alone in my dislike. If the elevator takes longer than usual, I have watched people go into minor conniptions, looking at the wristwatch and pushing the button in rapid succession (which we all know will make the elevator come faster).  And, if I happen to take three seconds too long to hit the gas pedal after the light has turned green, there will be plenty of people behind me honking to move me along.

We are extremely intolerant of waiting. So much so, that we are willing to pay a premium to reduce our waiting time. I wonder if prior generations got as frustrated about waiting as we do today. Can you imagine what it was like for people to wait months for a response to a letter? How folks from those times would laugh at us for getting impatient when our emails are not answered within twenty-four hours!  Have our inventions made us evolve into beings that are waiting deficient? And, does this evolutionary change put our race at a disadvantage?

What happens when we wait? Well, we think, we ponder. We rethink and consider various scenarios and outcomes; we may even reconsider our initial position and come up with a plan B. At a traffic light, we may think about something our spouse said, or about how we will handle a certain person at work that day. We may think about a friend we haven’t talked to in a while, about the item we’re purchasing and consider if it’s really something to buy right now, about that mole we should have the doctor look at or, we may just think about something trivial like, how lucky we are to make into the garage by 10 o’clock.

Recently, a friend suffered through the agonizing waiting period for laboratory results. Her thinking included the worst possible outcome. Fortunately, the cells were not malignant and she is doing okay. But, as agonizing as the waiting period was, she said the pleasure of knowing that she was okay made up for it. In that wait period, she gained a renewed appreciation for her life and for the people she loves.  And that makes me think about my remote control and how foolish it is to wish to fast-forward through perfectly good moments in my life.

Waiting is not always fun, practical or productive. But, good things happen while we wait and we have to re-learn its value. Waiting teaches us patience, gives us time to think, can prevent us from making a mistake, gives us time to appreciate what we have, and makes the arrival of what we have been waiting for all the more sweeter.

Much Love,

Find Joy in Everything

The message for this week was: find joy in everything. Hmmm, how exactly would I do that?

If you’re wondering how I received that message, let me assure you that I’m not hearing voices in my head. It wasn’t a dream. But, if you read my blog about reading the signs, then you’ll understand about messages that just pop out at you, or repeat themselves on different occasions. For several weeks I have been “hearing” about joy, and this week the message came right out of my iPod. One of my newest motivators for running is digital books. Tangent: I don’t think I’ll ever buy a book in print again! The joy of listening to the author’s voice or the total immersion of clicking through links in the digital book has made a convert out of me; though I will miss the way a book smells. But, back to the story.

While listening to Shirley MacLaine’s book about her pilgrimage, The Camino, The Journey of the Spirit (read about El Camino in my 8/12/2012 post), there the message was again. “Why do I keep getting this message?” I thought. I would soon find out.

Monday came with an avalanche of new things to do. A contract came through, a project was revised, and suddenly a 30-day month didn’t seem long enough. If you sense frustration, you’re right. On Monday, when things were the calmest, I felt like I was on top of it and shared with a colleague my message for the week. I was a bit cocky about it and had the attitude of, “I got this.” As the days passed however, the intensity of the issues increased. An onslaught of interruptions and obstacles would make a 5-day week seem not long enough. By Thursday, my serenity had left and I was rattled by an unexpected situation. I was so deep into the who’s and the why’s and the how’s that I forgot to find the joy.

The good news is that joy does not expire and is always available to us. So, after I got over myself, I took my brain to that plane where I can see the bigger picture. I knew exactly what I needed to do to move forward and handle the new situation that came with a new set of variables.  I realized nothing had gone wrong –  it had gone exactly the way it was supposed to. The plans that had gone awry were mine. And, since I am not the only person in the universe, I have to accept that the universal plans may differ from mine. I calmed down and felt an odd thing happening on my face. A smile.

Joy is never in the little things, the petty things. The joy is in seeing every moment as a gift. Every moment is rich with teaching, human connection, self connection and love. The best part of each gift is that it’s another opportunity to be ourselves, to exercise our own true talents, and to help others find joy. Now I understand why I needed to hear the message over and over again. Our society teaches us to sweat the small stuff, to compete, to do it faster, and to disregard others because all that matters is winning. These negative messages are constantly repeated to us through mass media. If you believe television, even baking cupcakes has become a cut-throat competition.  My brain has become trained to pursue the small and the petty; and my ego has gotten used to recognition and wants to always be right. “Find the joy in everything” is a message we have to hear constantly until we can reverse the negative programming. Our soul, or our spirit, knows joy, and connecting to it through meditation and reflection is helping me claim the joy that is mine. Go on and claim your joy this week.

Much Love…and Joy,

A Violation of Trust And How I Helped

Graphic credit: joedonatelli.com

When an acquaintance asked me about problem I had been having I was perplexed. Why would she ask me that? I was caught off guard and didn’t know how to respond. I finally said something that moved us off the subject. After I hung up I began processing what had just happened. How could she ask me something that I have rarely talked about to anyone?  I took a few minutes to think and recall who we mutually knew. Then the link came to mind. There was only one person I had opened up to about this problem. My very brief delight in having solved the puzzle quickly turned into a deep disappointment and sadness. Wow…I thought she could be trusted.

Coincidently, Oprah’s Lifeclass tonight is about the terrible things women do to each other  –  like gossip. I am looking forward to hearing Oprah’s insights but until then, I am taking out the magnifying glass and taking a close look at my own situation. Surely I can’t point the finger at the gossiper without acknowledging that three of my fingers are pointing right back at me.  What role did I play in my friend’s betrayal?

With age and heartache I have figured out that I am a person that needs to feel liked by and connected to other people. I am much better at it now, but with this “condition,” I have a tendency to jump to BFF status in a relatinoship while still in the getting-to-know-you stage. Basically, what it boils down to is that I give away my care and trust too prematurely. When we are needy we are fallible, which is why it is important to be aware of our neediness because it often drives our decisions and behavior.

Whenever my friend and I got together we just let it all hang out. We talked about this, that and the other over a glass of wine, coffee or a meal. Boy did we have a good time! But, admittedly some of that good time involved gossiping. Thinking back, our bonding revolved around sharing our true selves which included airing our opinions about other people– things, I thought, we would never share with anyone else.

My mistake was to believe that she would not have a similar good time with another friend where my life was the juicy topic of conversation. I don’t betray people’s trust, and I don’t share things that people have told me in confidence or that are no one else’s business. But, I am ashamed to admit that I have gossiped and talked about people with the justification that it’s just “harmless talk” that will never leave this room.

As I write this I realize that there have been other times when I was totally blindsided by a friend’s betrayal. And, the pattern was the same. Perhaps the gossiper believed it was harmless talk that would never get back to me. But, each time those people couldn’t help but show me their cards. Sometimes it was a direct reveal, and others it was a set of clues that let me know that they were in-the-know about my business.

Now is the issue of how do I move forward with my friend. There won’t be a big confrontation. I will continue my relationship with her because I genuinely like her and respect her. I believe that the root cause of her betrayal was not a desire to hurt me. In fact, I am certain that it was not about me at all. Her behavior was driven by her own need to feel liked and accepted. Perhaps she wanted to get closer to this other person and believed that there was some kind of gain from telling her something that no one else knew. And/or, she wanted to appear more important and sharing my privacy was proof of her power. Whatever the cause, I am in not her judge or jury.

I am disappointed in me for deceiving myself that “harmless talk” would not come around to me. Gossiping or talking about other people’s lives is not harmless; it’s a game of Russian roulette and eventually you’re going to get the bullet. So, let’s stop playing the game and not gossip about each other. I am sad that I cannot trust my friend and that I have to be guarded around her, but I forgive her. I pray that she, and I, and others will heal from the wounds that make us needy and drive us to hurt others as a result.

Much Love,

http://www.oprah.com/oprahs-lifeclass/oprahs-lifeclass.html