#288 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

For those few moments, my attention was completely focused on Nature and its beauty; its fury. I was more interested in what was happening outside …

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#288

Watch a thunderstorm

Are you one of the people who love to watch thunderstorms? Do you like the sound of thunder and the beauty of lightning? This typically warm weather phenomena is a nuisance to some and magic to others. They range from quick and basic to drawn out and down right dangerous.

I love the sound of a thunderstorm approaching – the gentle roll of thunder across the horizon, like the purr of a kitten letting you know it will be bigger at some point. I like the potential of seeing a flash of lightning cross the sky like a fracture of ice crystals across my windshield in the cold winter months. A thunderstorm most often announces its presence, giving us time to find a perch.

I am always amazed at how nature is so tuned in to its arrival that the leaves turn upside down and critters scoot for cover far in advance of our human tendency. I was taught to count the seconds between a lightning strike and a thunder clap – indicating the corresponding number of miles the center of the storm was from my location. I laid in wait, anticipating its arrival but only rewarded with the occasional epicenter unleashing its fury overhead.

Those were the moments that a smart person would move away from the open window or head in for the safety of walls and roof… but those were the moments I was most interested to see as the lightning struck close and the thunder simultaneously boomed its announcement of arrival. Sometimes, there would be more than one demonstration of dominance but more often than not the storm would move away as fast as it blew in and I would find myself counting again… the distance it had travelled from me.

For those few moments, my attention was completely focused on Nature and its beauty; its fury. I was more interested in what was happening outside in the world than in my own little dramatic circle. I was taken outside of my narrow view of the world and offered a glimpse of something larger, and more powerful than I could ever hope to be – put in my place by a random but scientifically viable operation of weather. It’s’ another example of how we can easily and without expense, step outside of ourselves and be present. A simple idea really.. just take time to…

Watch a Thunderstorm.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#289 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

When we look, up we cannot dismiss the concept of infinity… we have no choice but to try and absorb the realization of our overall insignificance. We automatically experience …

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#289

Look at the stars

As a little girl I would lie awake at night and look out my bedroom window. On a clear night I could see the Milky Way and name most of the constellations in the night sky; at least the ones there before midnight. It was easier from that small northern Pennsylvania town than it has been since near the big cities I’ve lived close to. The light pollution dilutes many of the stars that were once visible to my youthful eyes.

There was great joy in that activity though and it (or at least the memory of it) remains each time I am able to direct my attention to the night sky filled with the sun’s reflection of planets and stars across the galaxy.

When we look, up we cannot dismiss the concept of infinity… we have no choice but to try and absorb the realization of our overall insignificance. We automatically experience wonder and curiosity and imagination. For a brief time – unless we are more scientifically oriented – we may digress into a childlike fascination with the vision.

Take an evening, a clear early summer evening, and sit outside with the intention of identifying as many constellations as you can (a phone app like Star Chart or NASA Sky great for this activity) and identify where you are in terms of the galaxy. Take time to just look… perhaps you’ll see a shooting star – depending on your location – a meteor shower is common in the summer months. If you can bet to a beach and look oceanward… or the mountains – away from any light pollution – the effect is better.  Take the time to consider your position in the universe as a whole.

What thoughts come to mind when you take a good hard …

Look at the stars.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

 

#290 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

When I was growing up we weren’t allowed to get up and answer the telephone if it rang during dinner because it was ‘family time’ and interruptions weren’t accepted.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too

#290

Create a NO PHONE Zone.

This is perhaps one of the most common pieces of advice I give to my clients when they are seeking closer relationships with people in their home. The cell phone – our hand held computers – are here to stay and they have most certainly disrupted our ability – to communicate and connect in the same manner that was once taken for granted.

Facebook recently reminded me of a photo with their ‘On This Day’ feature that all four of my children were home for Mother’s Day a few years ago. In that photo, each one of them has a phone in their hand and only one daughter is looking up as I took the photograph. My heart was overfilled with joy that all my peeps were in the next but my intellect wants to be insulted that their attention wasn’t there with me. I’m not alone… it’s a complaint that I hear almost daily.

The solution is to create a “no phone zone” in your home. Perhaps it is the family room – in which case this photo would look different – or the kitchen table. When I was growing up we weren’t allowed to get up and answer the telephone if it rang during dinner because it was ‘family time’ and interruptions weren’t accepted.

We blame a lot on cell phones but I remember asking one of my daughters to “put down that book and talk to me” when she buried her nose in a book for hours on end. Likewise, I recall my mother asking my father to “can you put down the paper and listen to me?” And I’ve heard complaints from clients that beg for partners to “leave the work at work” so that their time at home can be dedicated to one another. When we create a ‘no phone zone’, what we’re really seeking is an opportunity to interact with the people who are sharing the space with us – to be present. Ideally that means its a ‘no newspaper’, a ‘no book’, and a ‘no work’ space as well.

The human nature in each of us desires attention and interaction; a situation much more attainable these days when we …

Create a NO PHONE Zone.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#291 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

If we all engaged in this activity once a day – every day of the year – I am certain that the amount of litter we see from day to day would be significantly reduced. Besides, the energy we spend bending over one extra time during the day would be good for us.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#291

Pick up litter

What? Keep reading… I’m not suggesting that you put on an orange vest, grab a pointed stick, and walk down the side of the interstate. My suggestion is much more simple; more basic; and perhaps have more impact than those crews we see walking alongside the roadways. Although, I am grateful for those individuals who volunteer to clean our environment.

This tip for happiness is subtle. It addresses those random pieces of litter we see and think nothing of. It is the random cup left on a park bench; the napkin that blew away; or the bottle top that went rolling.  While I certainly wish that we could all be responsible for our own refuse, I am suggesting that we also individually accept responsibility for properly disposing a piece of trash that was left behind by another.

If we all engaged in this activity once a day – every day of the year – I am certain that the amount of litter we see from day to day would be significantly reduced. Besides, the energy we spend bending over one extra time during the day would be good for us.

At the very least, keeping this suggestion in the forefront of your mind will remind you to toss your own trash appropriately. The ‘happiness’ this suggestion induces may not be immediate and yet I am certain that when there is less clutter, trash, and chaos in our immediate environment, our sense of well-being is increased. So, not only might you be increasing your own internal sense of contentment because you know you are doing something worthwhile but you may inadvertently be increasing mine because the absence of litter reduces my distress. All because you made a decision to…

Pick up Litter.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#292 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

A vision board uses the concept of ‘imagery’ to encourage and inspire. There is no right or wrong way to do it. I have encouraged clients to…

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#292

Create a vision board

This suggestion is a leading recommendation of life coaches across the country. It went mainstream when the Law of Attraction merged into Pop Culture. Even Oprah got in the game when she included a Dream Board on her website.

A vision board is a collage encompassing all the things you wish to ‘attract’ into your life. The premise is that what you ‘focus’ on – you will create / attract in your reality. It’s not meant to act as a metaphoric ‘Jeannie in a bottle’… it’s meant to inspire you to engage in activities that lead you in the direction of the goals / vision of your life that you’ve included on your board. What do you want? Go ahead and include the material items you wish to attain. Spell out the words of the attributes you want to grow (i.e., patience, compassion, etc.) What is your dream job? Include a photo of a graduation or a photo of a location where you’d like to vacation. It’s a combination of photographs and words that will inspire you to keep going… to keep working.

A vision board uses the concept of ‘imagery’ to encourage and inspire. There is no right or wrong way to do it. I have encouraged clients to use photographs, cut pics out of magazines, find words that are meaningful, ideas that you want to expand upon. Ultimately, a vision board is a visual representation of where your FOCUS lies. Theoretically, what you focus on is where your energy goes. Why not create a physical representation to remind you what to focus on day by day? It’s easy… think about what you want; where you want to go; and what you want to achieve and …

Create a Vision Board.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

 

#293 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Keeping a few key pieces and of course, the valuable or treasured items is a must but the rest can go. In some cases, there may be enough to create a different kind of treasure…

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#293

Clean out / go through your jewelry or ties.

One of my daughters recently offered to help me get rid of all my turn of the century necklaces; an offer I refused because I’ve been around long enough to know that they’ll eventually come back in style. However, there are items in my jewelry box that definitely need to be discarded.

When was the last time you ventured to weed out your jewelry stash? Do you still have Holiday pins that are now tarnished? How many serpentine necklaces are there that were broken due to their delicacy? Would you be willing to take a bet on how many single earrings are in your jewelry box cemetery? In addition to many of those pieces, I know mine is large enough to contain some of the trinkets and treasures that my children bought at ‘Santa Sack’ while in elementary school; you know, the adjustable rings and pop bead necklaces they were so proud to present.  Something has prevented me from disposing of them until now.

Keeping a few key pieces and of course, the valuable or treasured items is a must but the rest can go. In some cases, there may be enough to create a different kind of treasure… Pinterest has a plethora of ideas.

Dudes have the same issue at times with ties. My dad’s tie collection grew annually and only a few of them were actually in style or matched his taste. Seemingly, ties are the gift given when we just can’t figure out what else works. Cheap ties tend to be wider and thicker than the good ones; meaning that they collect dust faster and end up in the back of the heap – forgotten.

My grandfather kept his ties (much to my grandmother’s chagrin) so long that he had a few classic tucked away in the back of his closet when Paisley made a comeback. That’s not to say we shouldn’t wean down the collection. Again, keeping some of the ‘classics’ is appropriate, or the one that only gets worn on St. Patrick’s Day each year. Maybe there’s even vindication for keeping the one he proposed in – assuming that someday there will be a re-creation photo session to celebrate a big anniversary. Other than that – keep only the ones that are clean and in-style.

This is one of those productive tasks that takes minutes but offers great satisfaction each time we open the jewelry box or each time we reach for a tie. Go ahead, put it on your master list

Clean out / go through your jewelry or ties.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#294 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Aside from all the personal benefits… taking the time to babysit for someone who needs a break may just be the thing that allows them to be a better parent…

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#294

Babysit

This may sound like an odd suggestion for increasing happiness but indeed – it may be just the thing you need as children have a tendency to remind us how precious life can be. Even if you have your own children, another child can offer a fresh perspective. Children know how to be present and in the moment naturally and they instinctively understand what it means to be authentic; traits that we adults, need reminded of far too often.

If you have children:

Babysitting another child can offer perspective on the value of your own children. It can be another form of the blessing you experience every day and/or it can be a reminder of the potential your own children have. It may remind you why you made the decision to have children in the first place.

If you don’t have children but are thinking about it:

Babysitting other children may inspire you in your decision to move forward or it may cement the decision not to commit. Spending time with someone else’s child may demonstrate the joy that a child can carry into your life or it may validate the concerns you’ve had about readiness.

If you’ve made the decision to never have children:

Babysitting will remind you of life’s innocence. It will help you put life stressors into perspective and open your eyes to another way of viewing the environment surrounding you.

If you are an empty nester:

Babysitting your grandchildren and/or another child will have you counting blessings in many directions. There’s nothing quite like the spirit of a child to brighten our space, our spirit, and our sense of purpose. And… they seem to find all the things we’ve hidden or lost!

Aside from all the personal benefits… taking the time to babysit for someone who needs a break may just be the thing that allows them to be a better parent; returning to their own child/ren refreshed and ready to tackle a new day. It’s an extension of kindness in a subtle way and yet it really a personal treat each time we…

Babysit

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.