#148 Read a book about History

The older you get, the more you realize that humans don’t change that dramatically from generation to generation – at least not from those things that make us human – behavior and intention.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#148

Read a book about History

Was History a class that you zoned out on in High School or College? Did you resist listening to the story about Christopher Columbus or Napoleon for the umpteenth time after awhile? Have you ever found yourself wishing you knew more about certain time periods now that you are an adult and perhaps more traveled?

Fiction or Non?

Learning about history can be accomplished in a variety of ways but reading a book that is either biographical in nature, a factual presentation of historical data, or a historical novel can offer a great perspective and tons of information you never knew you’d actually find interesting.

Outside of reading about Mary Todd Lincoln and fantasizing about being able to wear hoop skirts, my interest in historical information was minimal until I became an adult. Interestingly, it was my love of historical fiction and generational novels that enticed a wider interest in other time periods and I’m not sure I gave it much significance until Downton Abbey rekindled my interest in the fashions of the late 1800’s – shortly after hoops were removed from the skirts of ladies dresses.

Emotional Investment

Since then, and perhaps in tandem with a couple of visits to Europe in recent years, my interest in history has bloomed. I’ve enjoyed the fiction of Ken Follett and Edward Rutherford – both authors who create magical fictional characters against the backdrop of actual events. I am able to imagine the depth and breadth of those moments far better than a college history lecture when I am emotionally invested in the characters who are being invaded by the Nords, grieving a war loss, or losing their fortune in a market crash.

Biographies

Biographies are another way to establish an emotional connection to a character; one who is historical in their own right. These books are stories as well as factual (in most cases) accounts that are shared in the context of the person’s life – mostly historical. The need for environmental context is almost always present and so we are introduced to this person in relation to their historical surroundings, often giving us a front seat view of an event we read out in the paper or in a textbook at some point.

Politics

Maybe even more recently, I am intrigued by political history and as they say, “history repeats itself” (I know this to be true with firsthand experience in fashion and furniture design) so I search archived accounts of leaders who demonstrated attributes similar to our current president. I think I am looking for hope.

Perspective

History gives us perspective. The older you get, the more you realize that humans don’t change that dramatically from generation to generation – at least not from those things that make us human – behavior and intention. We may do different things but our motivation is often similar – allowing us to experience compassion and empathy when we look backwards. It can also promote deep gratitude; for the people who came before us – their struggle, efforts, and intent.

We can always be learning and growing. One of the ways to do that is to…

Read a book about history.

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

#154 Follow the 5 Minute Rule

What tends to happen here is that once we begin to attack something – the enormity of it goes away.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#154

Follow the 5 Minute Rule

About a year ago I ran across Mel Robbins and her explanation of the 5 second rule…. A commitment to start those things you’ve been putting off by counting down 5-4-3-2-1 – and GO. She does a much better job of discussing this and extolling its benefits – it’s worthy of attention if you procrastinate. Interestingly enough, as I was explaining it months later – I confused the concept by describing that we can do anything for 5 minutes so go ahead and … just do it. It’s different than Mel’s strategy but helpful nonetheless.

There are tons of things in our life – on our to-do lists – that we simply don’t want to do… we may dread it or be annoyed by our need to accomplish it. Perhaps it just feels overwhelming. The idea behind the ‘5 minute rule’ is that if spend just five minutes on that item  you are avoiding and still don’t find the wherewithal to keep going – then, stop; redirect and know that you made an effort.

Reality

What tends to happen here is that once we begin to attack something – the enormity of it goes away. We often finish before the five minutes is up, having manifested the ‘thing’ to be much bigger – more challenging – than it actually was. Additionally, after giving something five minutes of our time and attention, we frequently discover that we can keep going; that it isn’t that bad after all or that we’re halfway there.

Try It

As you go throughout your day and face something that feels overwhelming or too cumbersome to attack – consider using this 5 minute rule and step into it with a timer set. Let me know what the result is! I love to hear the successes or challenges when people make an attempt to …

Follow the five minute rule.

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

#177 Dance

Our social interactions can be enhanced and our overall sense of well-being is likely to be elevated.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#177

Dance

If you were ever a Grey’s Anatomy fan, you’ll remember that Meredith Grey liked to ‘dance it out’. It was her way of being emotionally expressive. The truth is, dance is fantastic for emotions – it’s great for your body – and it may help you live longer. Indeed, There was a woman on this year’s America’s Got Talent that took Ballroom dance classes when she was in her sixties and today, after more than 10 years of honing skill… at the age of 71, she is dancing on national television with the grace of a swan.

Benefits

When we dance, we burn calories. We release endorphins. We stretch muscles. We build strength. We build aerobic capacity. Our balance, agility, flexibility, and coordination are improved. Our social interactions can be enhanced and our overall sense of well-being is likely to be elevated.

Something for Everyone

Dance can take so many different avenues that there’s an option for just about everyone. You can disco in the comfort of your living room; take ballroom dancing lessons, spend Saturday afternoon Country line dancing at a local venue. You can enroll in ballet, tap, or modern dance classes at a local studio or community college. Dance by yourself, with someone you know, or with a complete stranger. There really aren’t limits except those that you apply to yourself.

Motivation

Think about your motivation to dance… what is your goal? Fitness? Flexibility? Social connection? Would you prefer a partner? Private Lessons? Potential for competition? Do you want a work out or simple fun? Are you seeking to develop strength, coordination, or flexibility? The answer may dictate the style of dance you may enjoy and the intensity you dive in with.

At the very least, allow yourself to take the opportunities when they arise, to move to music that you enjoy. Whether it’s a series of hip wiggles or spins around the kitchen… when you hear tunes that motivate you to ‘get your groove on’ – let the spirit move you and…

Dance.

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

#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.

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

We rarely think of them and you probably can’t see the whole of them as you look around as furniture and miscellaneous items are surely obstructing part of your view; but the’re there and if your house is like many of ours…

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.

#270

Wipe down your baseboards

I know, this isn’t the most glamorous or fun loving suggestion. It’s likely to conjure images of sweat and wrinkly hands and for some of us… fatigue and back pain. It’s not exactly a recipe for happiness. It is a recipe for satisfaction though and satisfaction is a major component of well-being.

Our baseboards are mostly invisible – perhaps not literally as I’m sure you can take a look right now… down toward the floor, that area that bridges the joining of wall and floor. We rarely think of them and you probably can’t see the whole of them as you look around as furniture and miscellaneous items are surely obstructing part of your view; but the’re there and if your house is like many of ours… they’re dirty – or at the very least… dusty.

Baseboards are a forgotten element for a vast number of people and they can get grungy… perhaps even enough so that the accumulated dust gets stirred up and negatively impacts the air quality in the home. Have you noticed frequent sneezing? A runny nose? Or a tickle in your throat? Grab the vacuum and a bucket of hot soapy water. You may find it more efficient to bribe (I mean hire) short young people for this task. There were years where my children thought it was a fun task because they wore big yellow gloves and rocked out to MTV – which I never let them watch otherwise!

I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you’re sitting on the john and glance down at the sparkling clean woodwork. It may be an unpleasant task but you’ll be completely satisfied after making the decision to …

Wipe down your baseboards.

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

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.

16252337_10155182459668974_6386463855555385008_o
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.

_________________

If you liked what you read just now, please SHARE it with friends and family by using one of the buttons below (Facebook, Twitter, Email & LinkedIn) and know that I am grateful for your effort.

Also, I love to connect with my readers. Feel free to comment, follow my blog, or connect with me on social media.

Breaking for Gratitude

My entire adult life was negatively affected because I didn’t think that I could talk about hard things without being judged.

“If a story is in you, it has to come out.”  ~ William Faulkner

A letter to my family & friends:

I started writing 46 days ago in an effort to finally expose my voice. I never imagined that I could have taken it this far yet I’ve always felt that I had a story to tell; a lot to say. The whole reason I became a therapist in mid-life is because I wanted the pain I’ve experienced to have value (more to come on that). I use many of my own life lessons with clients in private practice and I know that they have been received with respect and openness. Mine is only one viewpoint on the spectrum of possibilities but if offering it to someone can somehow mitigate trouble on their own journey then mine will have been purposeful.

I have been greatly humbled by the support I’ve received over the last seven weeks. Almost daily, I’ve received messages, emails, and text messages demonstrating love, respect, and admiration. I accept it with gratitude. I am honestly excited to realize that I have accomplished the task of writing over 50,000 words in a relatively short time frame. Frankly, the words have come easily. I can attest that they have come without pain or intense emotion – concerns that have been addressed by people who love me. E suggested that it was God’s work that I could write such honest script without feeling the deep emotions I describe – perhaps it is. I have felt them – I have processed them – I have honored them. It is my life – the memories are vivid in most circumstances and I cherish the lessons they have provided.

One of the wonderful parts of sharing this on Facebook – as my sister-in-law recently stated, is that it has given people who may not have shared various parts of my life, insight into how I became the woman I am. It fills in a lot of blanks. Yet, I have made the decision to continue my quest to publish daily but NOT to advertise it on Facebook. The main reason is this: I feel I am becoming attached to the comments, likes, and engagement on Facebook rather than the story itself. That’s not my intention and so it is better for me to ‘simplify’ and just publish. Those who read it will read … those who will benefit, will. This story gets worse before it gets better and now is a good time to rein it in, so to speak.

I have remained vigilant with my children who have been amazingly supportive even though it may be difficult to know that their mom has experienced hard times. I know it has been hard to hear my perspective about their dad, also a person they love and yet, they were there and so this information is not new to them. They are such immense blessings in my life. Being a mother is the single most amazing thing I do. I am only a human being – a real person – who continues a journey of imperfection and discovery. They know this and honor me despite my flaws. Harlan, whom you will get to know …  is likewise, amazing. Loving me, yet reading every day about my love for someone else in another era … he inspires me and I hope to be able to honor him with my words when I write about the current period of my life.

I know that I talk about some really hard topics. I want to open the door to hard conversations! My entire adult life was negatively affected because I didn’t think that I could talk about hard things without being judged. Let’s change that! I respect everyone’s right to believe / think individual thoughts – different than mine. I want the same respect. I am not intentionally pointing a finger at something as WRONG or BAD nor RIGHT or GOOD – as I am directly opposed to using those labels – we are DIFFERENT. That’s all… we are different. We won’t truly have the facts about what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ – at least in religious or spiritual terms until we meet our maker and then – this discussion becomes a moot point. My goal is peace, not fear, or judgment. I hope you will be open to that concept as well, going forward.

I may turn this story into a book – a memoir. There is clearly enough information but I am not sure if there is a global need/desire for another ‘pain promotes personal growth’ story. It will take a fair amount of work to edit, submit, and promote the eventual 300+ pages of a book and I continue to ask myself – who cares?  Yes, I am full of self-doubt and insecurity – every time I push the ‘publish’ button I feel that typical / normal fear of ‘so what?’ I imagine it will be like a full-time job to make a full-on book happen and I’m not sure I have the time or energy unless I am convinced that people would buy it. I have a couple of other projects sitting in the wings of my life and so… time will tell.

I promise this – ThisIsLeslyn.com will continue to tell ‘the’ story until I catch up to current day and then, I will share musings and nuggets from my practice, my continuous personal growth, my ideas, thoughts, my life, etc.  I will be thrilled if you feel compelled to follow along – and share with people who may benefit from hearing the messages. I am open to any and all comments that offer support, encouragement, or constructive criticism – in fact, they motivate me to keep on daring greatly.

Again, thank you for reading – you honor me.

**NOTE: To follow the blog by email you must ‘sign up’ by entering your email address in the FOLLOW box. If you are reading this on a phone or iPad it may be at the very bottom of the post.  WordPress will send you a CONFIRMATION email and you must confirm your request before it will take effect.