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

Don’t worry about knowing what to do … use your instinct at first and if you find that you have ignited a talent and/or an interest, you can keep learning. Or, you can remain a noob and shoot photos for fun and interest

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.

#262

A Day of Photography.

In her book Big Magic, author Elizabeth Gilbert posits that we all have at least ‘some’ creative energy that is often untapped. Photography is a great way to begin unpacking artistic instinct.  So, grab a camera – whether it’s your phone or a 35mm that’s been collecting dust – and go outdoors.

Take a walk or a drive but with your artistic eye. Go out with the intent to capture color and/or light versus people or things. Part of what makes what we look at interesting and beautiful is the way that it appears in light; distinguishing colors and textures. Change your typical perspective by sitting on the ground or getting up high. As you move through your environment, look past the usual and seek to see more detail. When you notice it… capture it from as many angles as you can.

Try changing the frame of a photo. Capture an object through the branches of a tree or blades of grass. Seek a variety of visual interests as you move an object from the left of your shot to the right…

The digital element of photography these days means we can shoot as many images as we want without regard to expense. It’s another gift of technology. By taking the time to examine a scene or an object through the lens of a camera and with attention to shadows at a variety of angles, you may see the same things looking immensely different.

Don’t worry about knowing what to do … use your instinct at first and if you find that you have ignited a talent and/or an interest, you can keep learning. Or, you can remain a noob and shoot photos for fun and interest.

Warning: there is a rabbit hole here… once you capture a few images and upload them onto your computer there is a whole world of photo editing that may seize your curiosity and imagination. Play and have fun. This is an opportunity for you to be creative, get outdoors, be present, move your body, and experience your world in a new way. So many benefits from a simple …

Day of Photography.

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

Casual photo snapping is a favorite past time of mine… here are a few of my favs:

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

A child doesn’t care about what they’re wearing or even if their shoes are on the right feet. They don’t care about sitting in the dirt or how much sand ends up in their britches. They play 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.

#269

Behave like a child

Well… good behavior only please. One of the most endearing elements of childhood is a child’s ability to be present – in the moment – at almost any given time. They are free from the fear of judgment for a few years (until socialization kicks in high gear) and so they live freely.

A child doesn’t care about what they’re wearing or even if their shoes are on the right feet. They don’t care about sitting in the dirt or how much sand ends up in their britches. They play outside in the cold or heat without much bother and when given the chance – they’ll use their imagination to discover an entirely new world. They’ll make noise and jump around in silly ways. They laugh and cry at will.

They’ll say “I love you” and “no” without hesitation. And there is rarely an ulterior motive. For a few brief years, we all exist without the restrictions and rigidness that growing up births.

Today – or this week at least – find a playground and and swing on the swings or sit on the merry-go-round as it spins and laugh yourself silly. Grab an ice cream cone and share it with someone you love – taking turns with the licks. Sit in the grass and look for four-leaf clovers – reveling in delight should you actually find one. Or have a brownie sundae for dinner without any guilt or shame at all.

If you need help thinking of something to delight in like only a child can, spend a few minutes watching a group of children. Notice how present they are. Pay attention to the raw emotion they demonstrate at any given moment. How might your life benefit from a little reminder of what it was like before you learned not to…

Behave like a child.

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

Photo by sept commercial on Unsplash

 

 

#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.

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

Some of us spend way too much time thinking about how the world or people in it ‘should’ be or what ‘could’ have been done and far too little time seeing things as they ARE so that we can make a difference where it is possible.

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.

#327

Acceptance

My mother used to say “It is what it is.” She said it so much that it became rather like fingernails running down a long chalkboard when I heard it. Almost simultaneously, she would quietly recite the Serenity prayer, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Each time I heard either phrase, I imagined her throwing her hands in the air as if she was surrendering and it infuriated me because I wanted to have more control than that.

For anyone with ‘control’ issues – accepting our inability to create the reality we want to have is challenging. It is imperative therefore, to learn acceptance. It took me decades to realize that courage and determination were instrumental in learning how to ‘accept’ that I am powerless to change some things; other people for example.

Some of us spend way too much time thinking about how the world or people in it ‘should’ be or what ‘could’ have been done and far too little time seeing things as they ARE so that we can make a difference where it is possible.

If I have a yard sale planned and it is raining – ANY time I spend lamenting about the rain and its effect on my plans is a WASTE of ENERGY. I can be disappointed for sure but anything outside of that is non-acceptance.  If I’ve made a mistake and feel embarrassed or ashamed, moving forward from it requires acceptance – not avoidance of what is.

And… in order to change anything we have the power to change – we must see it clearly AS IT IS – not worse or better than it is – in order to change it accurately and reliably. If we want to turn sadness into something different, we have to stop resisting the sadness and accept its presence. The first step to anything is quite simply…

Acceptance.

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

Owning Your Control Issues

Who wants to think of themselves as a ‘freak’ of anything?

Continued from The Birth of Control Issues

“Surrender to what is. let go of what was. have faith in what will be.” ~ Sonia Ricotti

Yesterday’s post laid out how control issues are born and manifest. When people accused me of being a ‘controlling’ person I would get defensive because I knew in my own mind that my intent wasn’t to manipulate other people. I just wanted to control for the ‘uglies’… I wanted to manage the bad feelings – the sadness – the fear. When we speak about controlling behavior we use derogatory words such as ‘control freak’. Comments like that foster shame and embarrassment. Who wants to think of themselves as a ‘freak’ of anything?

When I notice that someone has the propensity to seek control of their circumstances and/or environment, the first thing I help them do is to understand why the need to control exists for them. And then we talk about managing it with a few simple thoughts.

OWN IT

Just OWN it! Acknowledging and understanding your ‘control issues’ is the first step in coping with them well. Accept them, love them, honor them. They are there because at one time you had a reason to believe that your emotional safety was in danger. We need to love the imperfect parts of ourselves just as much as those things that make us loveable. If one of the ways to soften your hard corners is through compassion… offer it to yourself! Seeking reassurance and comfort from the outside world is fine but if it isn’t available or frequent enough – you need to know how to give it to yourself.

REASSESS

Take a careful look around at the things that ARE within your realm of control. Many things are… you always have a choice unless you are being held captive or are in some way incapacitated… you have choices; even when you feel you don’t’. I remember many times feeling like I didn’t have a choice but that only left me with a sensation of helplessness.

Sure, sometimes we don’t ‘want’ any of the choices that are available but then we must be honest with ourselves and recognize – in that – we are still making a choice.

Can I control whether or not someone drinks? NO. I can only control whether I continue to share space with that person. If I chose to stay with someone who isn’t sharing the load with me, who doesn’t have the same vision as I do… then I have made a choice to accept the load myself and I have to redesign my vision. Understand that many choices are ‘package deals’ – they are bundled with a series of ‘consequences’… make sure you are consciously accepting the entire bundle because unbundling it – is OUTSIDE of your control.

LET GO

More often than not I find that we need to let go of fixed or rigid thoughts – the way we think things ‘should’ be or how things ‘should’ be done. Expand your thinking by eliminating words such as right/wrong or good/bad and replace them with ‘different’. There truly is more than one way to do most things.

Understand that in YOUR emotionally safe world things look a specific way. Responsibility, for example, may be represented to you in the form of a fixed blueprint that is achieved by doing x, y, & z precisely. But… we know – logically – that there is more than one effective building design. People demonstrate responsibility by using a, b, & c too. Letting go of an XYZ design and being open to trust that ABC will work is important.

Keep in mind that letting go is NOT a one and done thing. Thoughts don’t automatically disappear just because we want them to. We may need to let go of something over again every day until our mind remembers that we are simply not accepting that thought anymore. Be patient.

DISASSOCIATE

The things that happened in our past which, contributed to our current control issues are over. Just because the first man I loved died, doesn’t mean that the next man I love will, even though that is the fear. If your parents were horrible at parenting – if they were abusive – it doesn’t mean that other parents are abusive or that you will be as a parent. If someone you love died in a car accident, that doesn’t mean others will as well.

Certainly, bad things happen. But… the things that are creating your control needs are in the past and they need to stay there. Disconnect what HAS happened to what MIGHT happen going forward. Remind yourself… that was then, this is now. Stay present. Focus on THIS moment.

TRUST

“Let go and let God” is about trust. Letting go in general is about trust. We have to trust that if we let go – we will still experience emotional peace / security.

Sometimes I just repeat the word over and over in my mind as a reminder that I must surrender to trust. Generally speaking… things have always worked out in the end and I am reminding myself of that fact.

I find that most of us with control issues have simply learned to DIS-trust that people are working with us in the pursuit of emotional safety. I often remind myself that my children want to arrive where they are going and so they will make every effort within THEIR control to do so. I must trust that.

Trust is easier when we are constantly checking in to make sure that we are on the same page with those that are invested with us. Be sure that you are each moving toward the same vision and trust that you can get there via different avenues.

PLAN B

When all else fails, it helps to have a Plan B. People with control issues often have anxiety – the fear of not being able to control manifests physiologically. If we create an escape route – in case owning it, reassessing, letting go, disassociating and trust don’t completely satisfy our fears… having an alternative plan helps. It many never happen that you use Plan B but just initiating a design for another option allows your mind to experience a sense of relief.  Draw it out, make lists, save money, know where the exit is.

Having an active Plan B allows you to feel in control of something even when you have none.

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