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

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.

#275

Go to the Library

Do you still have a library card? When was the last time you stepped into that building, filled with rows and rows of actual books?

You don’t have to be an avid reader to enjoy a library. It’s often a great space – library’s smell good. The perfume of paper and bindings is unique and quite distinct. It’s representative somewhat of an era that is almost bygone by some standards. A traditional library typically has some comfy reading spots, quiet corners, and plenty of work room for anyone studying, writing, or researching. It would be sad if we allowed these public spaces to wither away and evaporate from existence from lack of use now that books are electronic and delivered at home the next day.

 

Libraries are fantastic places for exploring. It’s a physical source for information on just about anything and yes, the same data is available with a few keystrokes online but a real book… holding a book, turning the pages, and perusing the content – literally – has its own appeal.

For kids, libraries are an entirely different type of playground. All the books in a series are typically available. Instead of just one or two Cat-In-The-Hat books… the entire collection is available in a library. Likewise with Llama Llama, Frog & Toad, or Magic Tree House, reading the full anthology is easily achieved when checking books out from the library. Kids get to experiment with stories and authors before committing to big purchases.

I’ve occasionally fallen in love with the way a particular author writes and find that going to a library lets me follow the journey that the writer by reading everything they publish. There are also some books that are enjoyable to read but keeping them forever may be overkill. As an avid reader, I don’t have the space or quite simply, the desire to physically save all the books I’ve ever read. Using the library lets me have the benefit of holding a book, turning its pages, and then trading it for another.

I know, I know… borrowing real books means that you have to return them and in our busy lives, that’s just one extra thing you add to your busy list. More than a few times I accrued a sizable fine for not getting there in a timely fashion but I considered it a donation to a great cause!! I thought of it as my own way to support the library system. In the long run it was still far less expensive than buying all those book. Treat yourself and/or your kids this summer and …

Go to the Library.

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

Photo by Maia Habegger on Unsplash

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

My goal is to share a daily life lesson, tip, or hack. They are the things I want my children to know and the things that I teach to clients. They are the things that make my life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#350

Read Fiction

Yesterday I wrote about keeping a self-help book on your nightstand and incorporate reading them as an integral part of your constant personal growth. Today, I am suggesting that you need to mix it up a little. At the core of my suggestion is the inclusion of ‘trash’ fiction; you know – the stories that may or may not be terribly well written but in a weird way, take you into another mental space free of any daily life stressors. The stories that whisk you away to far away islands or planets in another galaxy.

It may be a national best seller or on an obscure list of sci-fi thrillers. It could be an epic trilogy based on real historical events or an unrealistic saga of Zombie rampage. No matter the genre, fiction has a way of whisking us onto a different plateau where reality is temporarily displaced, and our imagination can run amok.

A good story not only allows for us to step out of our lives momentarily, it helps us to foster empathy as we are transported into the perspective of a character who lives and thinks differently than us. Additionally, it creates a space where we can imagine ourselves interacting with a variety of circumstances and personalities; potentially improving our own relationships.

The brief disruption from stressors allow our mind and body a ‘break’ … a mental nap of sorts. It provides an opportunity for reset, which is proven to increase our overall sense of well-being. It quiets our mind by distracting us from our daily grind. Reading fiction before bed is indicated for people with insomnia. Reading fiction opens our mind to creativity by stimulating our imagination. It fosters our ability to produce mental images and it builds our vocabulary.

Dust off your library card, download Audible, and/or charge your Kindle and spend a little time with this one daily goal…

Read Fiction

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

Photo on Foter.com

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

My goal is to share a daily life lesson, tip, or hack. They are the things I want my children to know and the things that I teach to clients. They are the things that make my life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#351

Self-help books on the nightstand

Heraclitis, a Greek philosopher stated “Change is the only constant in life” – a quote you’ve probably seen a hundred times as you moved into adulthood. We know it to be true and some of us experience an unequal amount of change through the course of our lives. Typically, I find that we attribute this quote to external things; our jobs, our environment, our friends, perhaps spouses… Rarely do I find that people are introspecting about personal change.

Unless of course, they are of the ‘self-help’ mindset and/or focused on their mental health as a habit. I’d love to encourage everyone to adopt a ‘self-help’ mentality – in part so that we each take personal responsibility for our actions, reactions, relationships, and lives. The broader part though is that we too, are always changing and if we are not doing so in awareness, we get caught off guard.

Keeping a ‘self-help’ book on your nightstand or in your kindle/e-reader will help you stay present with where you are and what you are thinking. If doesn’t have to be heavy duty stuff all the time. It can be a book of inspiring quotes that reminds you of the progress you’ve already made. It can be a bible that reinforces your faith (yes, I put the bible in a ‘self-help’ category).

I’ve been known to have a stack; a variety of books on a variety of topics – all designed to make me ‘think’ about myself and my life below the surface of where I am living it. Some books are the kind that I am reading from beginning to end – perhaps slowly so that I can absorb new ideas as I go along. A few are the kind that I can just open randomly and benefit from the words on that arbitrary page. Others are ones that I began but didn’t connect with right away and they’ve gone to the bottom of the pile for future contemplation.

I don’t pick self-help books – I let them pick me. In the days that I began my collection, I would peruse the personal development and/or the spirituality section of the bookstore; allowing my eyes to roam across the titles like a gentle wave until something specific caught my attention. Once it did, I would pick up the book and without reading the cover, I would open it haphazardly and read what was there. IF it resonated, even slightly, I considered it. I still use that method, but I buy half as many bound books these days as I’ve fallen in love with Audible and the ability to listen no matter what I am doing. I often listen to books over music and find that I’m ‘reading’ more than ever with this option available to me.

I will caveat this idea with the warning that one can ‘overload’ on information and it’s equally important to allow yourself to step back from ‘self-improvement’ from time to time so that the things you’ve learned can take root. Personal growth is best accomplished the way we physically grow – in spurts with solidifying periods in between. I found the best way to keep myself motivated along the way is to have…

Self-help books on the nightstand.

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

Feeding My Spirit

One of the things I do to feed my spirit is read. Actually, I listen. My eyes have changed so much as I have aged that reading a book for too long of a period is hard on them and I’ve fallen in love with ‘listening’ to books. I listen while I walk, at the gym, while I drive… Sometimes I just put my headphones in and listen to a few minutes for a pump-me-up if I am in the middle of something inspirational.

Right now, I am reading Gary Zukov’s Seat of the Soul. It’s been out for twenty-five years and he was one of Oprah’s most interviewed guests so it’s not new but I never read it before. It’s another one of those books that when I am finished listening, I will have to buy a print version and sit down with a highlighter. It is a ‘night stand’ book – one of those books that you keep on your nightstand and read parts of when you are stuck or wanting a bit of a reminder about life.

It’s a little hard to follow sometimes because he talks a LOT about five sensory versus multisensory people and I think maybe you have to be in a place where you are open minded about the nonphysical ideology.

I find it fascinating that I am reading it now – that it wasn’t on my radar during other periods of my life when reading was how I gathered information and expanded my awareness. It’s also really interesting to me that it validates all the other stuff I have read. Remember my thoughts about coincidence?

“You cannot find your soul with your mind, you must use your heart. You must know what you are feeling. If you don’t know what you are feeling, you will create unconsciously.”~ Gary Zukav

I really like how he separates the idea of our ‘soul’ and our ‘personality’… in fact – I may use that with clients because I think it’s an easy concept to understand. I typically speak about heart and ego (Eckhart Tolle) but I like the ‘personality’ element. Our personality – the part of ourselves that we allow people to see – is where we live most of the time and its where all the stuff we don’t want exists (i.e., fear).

“The human emotional system can be broken down into roughly two elements: fear and love. Love is of the soul. Fear is of the personality.” ~ Gary Zukov

Did you read my post the other day about being right?? Today, I heard this:

“A power struggle collapses when you withdraw your energy from it. Power struggles become uninteresting to you when you change your intention from winning to learning about yourself.” ~ Gary Zukav & Linda Francis

And those of you who have been reading for a while may remember my ‘Soul Theory’… and the thoughts I have about spirituality and reincarnation…

“You may seek companionship and warmth, for example, but if your unconscious intention is to keep people at a distance, the experiences of separation and pain will surface again and again until you come to understand that you, yourself, are creating them. Eventually, you will choose to create harmony and love. You will choose to draw to you the highest frequency currents that each situation has to offer. Eventually, you will come to understand that love heals everything, and love is all there is. The journey may take many lifetimes, but you will complete it. It is impossible not to complete it. It is not a question of if but of when. Every situation that you create serves this purpose. Every experience that you encounter serves this purpose.” ~Gary Zukov

Of course, whenever something ‘bad’ happens, we are inclined to ask the question “why?” It’s in that question that I often lean on my beliefs that there is value in each experience but I still find myself looking for an immediate answer. I recall Dr. Brian Weiss’s work in Messages from the Masters where they too state “Love is all there is” … echoing Jesus and Gandhi. Perhaps then, the lesson in EVERYTHING is searching for how to love more. And… maybe sometimes, the love we are needing to learn is how to love ourselves!

I know some really phenomenal people who exhibit love wherever they go but are terribly self-critical. And maybe it’s just that we need to be reminded because we fall back into old self-destructive habits.

In a conversation this morning, I was talking about how hard it is to be consistent with the things that we know. Harlan and I are both challenged in this regard. He loves his ice cream and cookies (albeit they are cardboard, oatmeal nut, healthy kind of cookies) but we know that sugar isn’t good for him. He goes in and out of periods where he commits to avoiding sugar and then slowly it creeps back in until he notices that there is little to no thought about the amount of sugar he consumes.

I am the same with my dieting. I know – beyond doubt and especially the older I get that I have to limit my calorie intake. When I do… I like my body and it likes me – when I don’t … we both get to the point where we are hating on one another constantly (my body and me). Why do we allow ourselves to forget what we know? Why do we slip?

It must be like being on vacation with your family. While there, when the only thing to focus on is having fun with the people you love, everything is wonderful – you all feel connected and close. Then we come home – where there is work, responsibility, and commitment. The loving connections we experienced on vacation seemingly disappear into the wind because we aren’t great at placing our attention on everything all at once. In fact, we only have a certain amount of attention to give… could this be as simple as prioritizing the places we put our focus?

I know, I know … I think it myself – “what can I possibly give up”, “where do I find the time to add another ‘practice’ to my life?” I am the Queen of multi-tasking an honor that is shared by a gazillion of us… we try and make ‘everything’ a priority. That’s why we drop stuff.

Zukov’s book is about “intention” and I am excited to get through the rest as I believe this very question is addressed and now… perfectly ordained by the great Universe… is the time that I need (perhaps am open to) hearing how can be accomplished. I invite you to read with me and we can ‘discuss’ it in the comments or on Facebook… or I can share as I go along. What is your heart saying?

“An intention is a quality of consciousness that you bring to an action.” ~ Gary Zukov

 

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