#243 Start Your Day with Motivation

Grab your tablet, your smartphone, or tune your smart TV to a speech geared to energize your mental energy and listen to something inspiring instead of the morning news while you eat breakfast or prepare for the day.

#243

Start your day with motivation

Your Daily Start

How do you start your day? Do you grab a cup of coffee and turn on the news? Pick up a newspaper? While it’s helpful to check traffic and weather to get your commute organized, it can be a real bummer reading or listening to the day’s headlines. When you get ready for your day do you pick through your closet and reject most of the pieces you grab? Are you frequently complaining about a bad hair day? Are you reeling with negative self talk about your weight, your wrinkles, or your schedule?

Make a Shift

If any of the above is true, is it any wonder that your day starts on a low note? Shifting that routine just a little my in fact completely turn around a dull perspective and give you a much more positive beginning each day.

Instead of listening to the news and all of its negativity, begin your day with something uplifting. Once again, we are living in a time when any information we want is at our fingertips via the internet making motivational messages only a few keystrokes away.

Watch & Listen

This is not a new concept… YouTube channels such as BeInspired and TED Talks are libraries for morning motivation. Searching motivational speakers will return inspiring lectures from Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, Les Brown, Brene Brown, Brian Tracy, Marianne Williamson, and hundreds more. Almost any topic you find interesting is covered from finance and professional development to spirituality and personal growth. What area of your life do you want to grow? Grab your tablet, your smartphone, or tune your smart TV to a speech geared to energize your mental energy and listen to something inspiring instead of the morning news while you eat breakfast or prepare for the day.

The way we view life is greatly determined by the lens we begin our day with. Technology makes it easier than ever to make that choice for ourselves. Make your day better by making the decision to…

Start your day with motivation.

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.

 

#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.

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

… is there a color on that ‘happy’ spectrum that would be a nice compliment to your overall curb appeal? Is there a color that comes to mind that might strengthen your mood at the end of a long day?

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.

#310

Paint your front door

What is the first thing you notice every time you come home? Does the entrance to your living space welcome you? Even on the dreariest of days, arriving home and entering through a doorway that is inviting and positively staged, can revitalize your energy.

It may be as simple as painting your front door!

When your point of entry “pops”, people (including you) are more likely to respond positively. Guests will feel welcomed and newcomers will be entering with a great first impression. Your personality can be displayed quickly and easily by using a quart size can of paint.

Think of a color that represents ‘happy’ to you and then step outside and imagine it on the rectangle that is your front door. Imagine how it looks with the brick, siding, wood, or stucco that covers your home… is there a color on that ‘happy’ spectrum that would be a nice compliment to your overall curb appeal? Is there a color that comes to mind that might strengthen your mood at the end of a long day?

I’m including a few before & after photos I pulled off the internet for inspiration and I’m sure we can agree that they are all fantastic makeovers – creating an inviting entry with personality and charm.

From the blog Bren Did

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From the blog Ginger Snap Crafts
Of course, there is a technique involved but with only a couple of pointers to keep in mind, the entire appeal of your home can be enticed. Using an exterior paint with a high gloss finish and a low nap (or foam) roller is most often recommended. Start with a clean door, lightly sanded, and primed. In as little as an hour the look of your home will be updated with your individual personality!

And remember… it’s only paint so go ahead and spruce up your entry by….

Painting your front door!

(I’d love to see the results if this post inspired you!)

Time to Teach

“Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert

In the book ‘Big Magic’, Elizabeth Gilbert spends some time talking about ideas – how they come in… swirl around to see if you want it… and then move on. I found it to be an amazing concept because I am always having ideas and every once in a while, they stick around.

Recently, I had an idea. It wasn’t new actually. It was a returning one but it looked a little different and this time, I liked its appearance. The timing seemed right – actually – it seemed perfect.  Although I am tempted to keep things status quo so that Harlan’s energy in my surroundings doesn’t get disturbed. In reality – I sense it is HIS energy that is stirring things up. I can feel him pushing me and I dream that he is encouraging me – he was always so good at that.

The idea said “TEACH”.

I was momentarily hesitant to start something new and exciting because well… I’m still grieving, right? It’s not the right time. But the idea wouldn’t budge. It was there constantly and it was loud. I considered that in actuality – it is the right time – right now in the middle of all this coping – while the tools are being used and put to the test. The time is perfect for me to aggregate the knowledge and experience I’ve accumulated over the last 30 years.

I got busy and created The Elevate Class – an online class designed to motivate and inspire you to discover and live your best life.

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I’ve poured more than one hundred hours now,  digging through my bookcase, my graduate syllabuses, academic papers, and inspirational heroes of mine. I’ve assembled the best of them into ten categories and outlined them in a way that helps me explain how I’ve coped all these years; through the ongoing parade of yuck that life keeps dishing out. I will explain how to make your own life lemonade!

I do so by walking WITH the people who take the class. It’s one thing to watch a video or read a book — but having someone to digest it with, to dig into the deeper questions they evoke, to validate or dismiss its value… now that’s helpful – and fun!

After a decade of working with clients as a psychotherapist and examining the tips, tricks, and techniques that have allowed me to stay positive and focused – no matter what – I am positioned and ready to teach.

To learn more about The Elevate Class visit the website. I hope you’ll read more and get excited to start a journey yourself!

 

When Things Get Tough…

We never committed to one another in a public forum; we don’t have a ‘legal’ union.

So… things have been tough lately. H made it through surgery ok but it was a rough start to recovery. The last ten days have been a heavy-duty wakeup call in understanding the impact that his illness has on our lives.

I vacillate between being deeply heartbroken for him, for us, and for myself. This isn’t how either one of us ever pictured our time together. I am aching to go on a bike ride with him and I know he aches to feel the wind on his face.

I think I have gained every pound he has lost. I wonder if at night, they secretly move from him to me in an effort to avoid contamination by the cancer cells. We eat the same amount of food I think… and yet I am the only one gaining weight. It may be that I still love to eat and he is sometimes only eating because I force it in front of him, sometimes with little compassion and too much energy. I feel afraid when I notice how thin he is becoming.

I try not to notice every time he shudders with the agony of the bone lesions because it stirs in me an urge to scream for him but it never comes out that way. Instead, it emerges as impatience and frustration which is equally infuriating because that is never my intent. I want it to go away so that he can smile again, drink a Mojito, and mow the lawn because those are the things that give him pleasure.

We never committed to one another in a public forum; we don’t have a ‘legal’ union. However, on that beach in Vieques without a stitch of clothing on, in broad daylight, as the waves gently crested across our knees, we promised to trust one another and to tell the truth – no matter what. We didn’t promise to stay together “in sickness and in health, til death do us part” but I am not ready to let go of him. I don’t care that he is sick – I still want to hear the sound of his breath above the roaring fan at night as he snores loud enough to attract the zombie apocalypse. I still want to hold his hand while he man crushes over Pete Nelson or Chip Gaines.

The doctors say that the cancer is managed; the treatment is working but we stay confused about that because in nine months, a lot has changed. Right now, it’s better than it was thirty days ago so we stay hopeful that these last attempts at pain management will continue to mitigate his discomfort. And we dream. We’re making plans as if it was last summer when we hopped on our bicycles to enjoy the sounds and temperatures of early summer evenings. We continue to think about things we’ll do ‘when he feels stronger’ which feels much better than thinking about all the things we may never do again.

And I attempt to do what I tell people to do every day. I deliberately work at self-care. I write. Sometimes it’s for just me and then there are times I have something to say that I know is relatable or helpful and I share. I go on walks. I talk with friends. I read. And apparently, I eat.  Work is a blessing because it allows me to shift my focus; to problem solve, which is of course, my passion.

And I seek inspiration… Here are some thoughts that keep me moving. I hope they do the same for you.

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My March on Washington

There were more signs about Love and Peace and Hope than there was anything else.

A few days ago my daughter, who lives in Baltimore, called and asked me to make history with her by attending the Women’s March in Washington, DC. It meant that I would get up at 5 am, drive a couple of hours – walk all day in massive crowds – and then, tired… drive all the way home. Of course, I said “yes” – not because I was that invested in the march but because when your daughter ‘wants’ to spend the day with you… a day she will remember for the rest of her life… is there any other answer??

I say that I wasn’t all that invested in ‘the march’ mostly because I am not an overt activist. I have always chosen to change the world in ways that improved my little corner… working in my child’s school, raising money for the PTA, volunteering in my community, etc… I’ve not used my voice for anything on a national scale outside of casting my vote and so this was a first for me. I did not wear a pink hat – mostly because I didn’t have one – but even more so because I’m not a fan of the ‘p’ word and the hats were called p**** hats and even those the intention/message was important I didn’t want to promote the use of ‘that’ word. We didn’t carry signs because Sara was going to capture images and I was the photographer assistant; we needed our hands.

Getting to Washington proved to be a challenge and yet for Sara and I, the perfection of the mistakes and uncertainty made the adventure that much more memorable. This was the plan… I would pick her up in Baltimore, we would drive to the Halethorpe MARC station and catch the train to DC. We picked that location because the large downtown train station in Baltimore didn’t have the greatest parking. Well…. When we got to there we couldn’t find the entrance to the massive parking lot. It was a shame because it was practically empty. We weren’t the only challenged ones, the street parking was filling up fast and we saw people flowing into the station. One local resident, standing out on his lawn with a cup of steaming coffee (which I desperately wanted but was afraid to drink because I knew porta potties were my only option) let us know – in no uncertain terms – that we could (should) be parking there.

We were at the station in plenty of time to catch the 7:40 train but as we arrived, a woman in an official looking yellow safety vest was making the announcement that the train from Baltimore would NOT be stopping as it was completely full. It had filled in Baltimore. Crap. We should have gone to Penn station. The next train wasn’t for another hour… Saturday schedule. (MARC apparently has a good reason for not adding lots of extra trains for this historical event.)  She informed us that our best bet would be to drive south to the Greenbelt Metro station and take the DC Metro to one of the Washington Mall stops.

Sara and I took a minute to berate ourselves for just not going downtown in the first place and for a hot minute we thought about waiting for the northbound train – taking it back up to Baltimore and then coming south again… remember, I hadn’t had much coffee – which is the fuel for clear, rational thought. We opted for the southern option and headed down toward Greenbelt. It was an uneventful forty mile drive but the traffic was definitely building as we got closer to the city and there were an extraordinary number of busses on the freeway. When we got to the exit for the Metro station, it was blocked by a police car and there was a massive LED sign letting us know that the parking lot was full. Now, Sara had been telling me all along about how big this parking lot was “like a football stadium” she had said and so I was bowled over when we saw that it was full… As we drove by we could see what looked like THOUSANDS of people standing in line, presumably waiting to board the Metro. Holy cow, now what??

We went to the Marriott to get some coffee and use the facilities. There were lots of women there, many in pink hats and we asked a couple how they were getting downtown. “the hotel has a shuttle over to the Metro station” they said. We quickly described what we saw as we drove by just minutes ago, and then commented that it may be better to Uber down and get as close as possible. The two women we spoke to were quick to join forces with us and while we took care of nature’s calling – they arranged for a Lyft driver. It was going to cost much less per person than had we taken the train!

Our driver was awesome! SHE was happy to be making some extra money that day and even more so to be helping out in the way that she was able in the formation of such a historical event. We guided her into town, around traffic and she got us all the way into Union Station with very little delay. It was such fun talking to her and meeting our new friends (who were from Salt Lake City, Utah). We were counting our blessings at how the whole thing turned out… here we were without riding a train and/or standing in a line. As we got out of her car we were immediately swept up by the sea of people coming out of the train station, making their way over toward the Capitol building and it was both overwhelming and incredibly exciting to feel the energy of what it is to UNITE.

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Photo by Sara Kantner

There were all kinds of signs. Some were anti-Trump, many were pro-women’s choice, some were specifically for equality. I’ve read that the crowd in Washington, DC is estimated to have been over six hundred thousand. I never had a vantage point that allowed me to view the entire mall area. In fact, most of the time we were simply in a sea of moving people – and for part of that time it was – quite literally – full on, packed, body to body, people. We accidentally got ourselves over by the main stage – behind the American Indian Museum – in a hive of human beings that were so tightly packed together I finally understood the mechanism that activates panic in claustrophobic’s. Not for me. We spent an hour moving ourselves across the mall to the northwest side. After four hours of standing, walking, and watching… we started the march toward the Washington Memorial. When we got a chance to look across town – down the side streets, it was apparent that people had overflowed from the mall onto Constitution and Pennsylvania avenues. They filled Madison, Jefferson, and Independence… all moving west toward the Monument and President’s park. By then… I was over the crowding. I was cold… the weather report had not fulfilled its promise to reach 55 degrees… and I was sore from not sitting for more than five hours. It was time to find coffee… food… and warmth!

We kept moving until we found a street with moving traffic… hailed a cab and went to meet my youngest brother for an early supper.

It was amazing.

It was heartwarming.

It was breathtaking.

It was enlightening.

It was empowering.

It was more, too.

Sara began her day by intending to visually document the March from the perspective of mothers and daughters – motivated in part by her presence there with me. Certainly, one of the most inspiring parts of the March for me was how many children were there. THEY are the future of this country and they were experiencing firsthand how to respectfully demonstrate – how to use their voices. There were NOT just mothers and daughters… there were fathers and sons… entire families. These children were learning how to disagree in a loving spirit… I saw it with my own eyes. There were more signs about Love and Peace and Hope than there was anything else.

Yesterday inspired me, it was impossible to leave Washington without an imprint of that experience on my soul but it was more than that. We were not alone in that city… if you are connected you already know that many millions of people marched in over 30 countries and in every single state. How inspirational is it that people across the world came together unilaterally in support of simple humanity?? Literally…. Across the entire world. My deepest hope is that we all continue to use that spark as only the ignition of continued support for global human dignities.

This March was NOT about the American president. It was about HOPE that the Universal progress we’ve made regarding basic human integrity’s will be sustained and promoted throughout the world; at least THAT is why I marched. THAT is the lesson I hope those children took home and THAT is what I will continue to promote if only in my own little corner of the world.

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