#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

#206 Take a Mental Day Off

Leaving work at noon – grabbing a pedicure without waiting and getting into the house before anyone else can shift an entire perspective from raunchy to rested.

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.

#206

Take a mental health day off

When was the last time you took a day off for no reason other than to stay home and binge watch T.V., go on a hike, or picnic by a waterfall? All too often we save our vacation days for purposeful tasks or family vacations where the only thing that is different – is the scenery. Sometimes, we just need to have a mental health day.

Use sick days

All too often I find that people accumulate sick days in anticipation of having a major illness. I’ve known people to sell back more than six months of time that was accrued. While that was a nice ‘bonus’, most of us would have been better off taking one or two of those for no other reason than we wanted to have a champagne lunch with a friend.

Taking a Break

Everything is easier when we take a break. When we exhaust ourselves physically, we take a break. When we sit too long, we take a break, and when we’ve worked our fannies off – we deserve a break. Even taking a half day can make a difference. Leaving work at noon – grabbing a pedicure without waiting and getting into the house before anyone else can shift an entire perspective from raunchy to rested.

New Perspective

The little break you take with a mental health day can help you get a new perspective or at the very least, it can give you the metaphorical deep breath you need from work and the people there; stepping back from stress, controversy, or uncertainty. If we are seeking clarity or solutions, it may be the break that offers it to us.

Take a look at your work schedule as soon as you can and identify a time when you can…

Take a mental health day off.

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

#208 Reflect Honestly

When we are hiding from what is real, we are unable to demonstrate our most authentic self; to feel our absolute best.

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.

#208

Reflect Honestly

Survival

I’ve encountered a lot of people who prioritize truth telling yet lie to themselves. If we are attempting to live our best possible life, it’s important to self reflect with complete honesty. We avoid the truth because it may induce feelings of shame, guilt, or embarrassment; none of which feel good. We conjure stories about our lives that help us cope with living them – sometimes regardless of whether or not it’ a reflection of what is real. We create subjective narratives for emotional survival.

Objective View

One way to access our life honestly is to step back from it and view it as if it is a stage play with players you don’t know or perhaps a television show with characters that are not emotionally attached to you. If your life was a television show – would you watch it? Would you be screaming at the screen trying to tell one of the characters something? Would you be disgusted and turn it off? How would you rewrite the script?

Sometimes taking this perspective means seeing things we don’t want to see. It means we may need to make a change that we don’t feel prepared for or equipped to make. It means accepting that what we wanted, may not happen or what we believed, is actually false.

Support

If you believe you have been avoiding a compelling truth in your life, garner a support system be it another family member, a trusted friend, or a counseling professional and begin the unraveling of what is true. Sometimes it’s a simple effort; at others, it’s more complicated because one lie often begets another and they become convoluted and woven into reality. It may take time and patience to see yourself in well focused light.

As a professional, I often find myself in the position of helping people in this manner and one of the distinctions is aiding clients in understanding the difference between ‘who’ they are and ‘what’ they do… one is personality and the other, behavior. Clarity may take time but the benefit is authenticity.

Authentic Self

Authenticity is not possible without truth. When we are hiding from what is real, we are unable to demonstrate our most authentic self; to feel our absolute best. There is great freedom in living only from a truth place. It’s the origin of true happiness and possible only when we …

Reflect honestly.

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

#224 Go to an Art Museum

It’s a place to step outside of yourself, to imagine another human being with a brush, pallet knife, or chisel in their hand …

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.

#224

Go to an art museum

Very few of us are actually patrons of art. It seems as though if we aren’t creators or investors, our interest in art is fleeting or sporadic at best. If we live in a major metropolitan environment, it is likely that we were introduced to great art via a school trip where we were perhaps more interested in the time away from history and calculus than in the masterpieces displayed in the gallery.

Intrigue

I went to a gallery once on Rodeo Drive just for kicks but fell in love with the work they were featuring that week. I pretended to be able to afford the $10,000 price tag so that I could learn more about the artist’s technique. I think there’s a part of my psyche that wants to cover my walls in abstract creations full of color and light but my pocketbook doesn’t match my intrigue.

Refuge

And that’s the value of Art Museums… they are buildings full of walls that display a variety of talent; from old masters to new savants. On those days when you need a little inspiration or a pick-me-up, a museum offers refuge in the form of a bench in front of some form of art. It’s a place to step outside of yourself, to imagine another human being with a brush, pallet knife, or chisel in their hand – creating their own vision that became the piece you view. Somehow, it puts one’s own life in perspective via an unusual channel.

Give a little, Get a lot

Many museums are free to enter or only charge a small fee. Frequently they offer reduced entry fees for special professional affiliations (i.e., military, teachers, etc.) and most often for just a little more, will offer annual membership. It’s satisfying to know that your entrance payment keeps these national treasures safe, clean, and in good repair – our history depicted in paint, pen, and stone. Whether it’s curiosity, solace, or inspiration you seek – it’s possible you’ll find it if you…

Go to an Art Museum.

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

#251 Share a Secret

Unloading it from her head into the space in my office and hearing how normal it may have been gave her tremendous relief and in her words “changed my life”.

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.

#251

Share a secret

Rational thought needs to be utilized here as we don’t want to share a secret that belongs to ‘someone else’. The idea is to share one of OUR secrets… one of the things we’ve been keeping hidden for fear that someone will judge us harshly. Perhaps something that causes shame for us.

Sometimes, secrets hurt. When we hold on to a secret, we may be holding shame which, is a non-productive, harmful emotion known to be the culprit for many maladaptive behaviors. Shame can be cancerous… the longer it sits there, the more bigger it gets. Sharing the ‘thing’ that you are trying to keep hidden releases some of its power.

Be discriminate.

Letting the proverbial ‘cat out of the bag’ to the wrong person may not go well. If you are hesitant to share your secret with someone you know there are a couple of options…

  • Talk with clergy. Either your own pastor or another. Everyone in this position I’ve ever been acquainted with has an open door policy and will talk with anyone, regardless of faith.
  • Talk to someone on a ‘helpline’. There are National Helplines for almost any topic one can think of. Generally, the people there are trained to listen well and can direct you onward if you need additional support.
  • Talk with a Therapist. A psychotherapist that is… someone trained and licensed in mental health. Some therapists do not accept health insurance so ask before you schedule the appointment.

All of those professionals are guided by ethical guidelines and confidentiality unless you indicate you are going to hurt yourself or a child. They are secret keepers, dumpsters, vaults, etc…, dumping grounds for the things that we don’t want to hold on to any longer.

Live Lighter

Once you relieve yourself of the secret, chances are you will feel lighter almost immediately. A secret only has power when it exists inside. Once we share it – its power is reduced and we can seek resolution for any additional stress or negative emotions that arise. Sometimes, we just need a little perspective about the issue at hand and once gained, the energy of the secret is greatly diminished.

I once had a client who confessed during a session that their greatest shame was lust for a neighbor. She said that she had spent years fantasizing about him but had never behaved inappropriately – only in her thoughts. Unloading it from her head into the space in my office and hearing how normal it may have been gave her tremendous relief and in her words “changed my life”.  While not every shared secret will change a life, it will allow you to live more authentically. Think about it and then…

Share a secret.

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

#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:

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

Perhaps you’ve just begun adulthood and there is a simplicity in your life that you hope to carry through… write yourself a letter reminding your future self …

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.

 #277

Write a letter to yourself    

Sometimes, we need a little reminder about life and the very best perspective into our lives is our own!

There’s value in writing a letter to your younger self. Think back a few years; 10, 20, or even 30…. Where were your thoughts? Your values? Your goals? What have you learned since then? By sitting down and writing a letter to your younger self, you are taking stock in how far you’ve come. You’re describing a perspective that may not be actively conscious until you take the time to think. Think about the mistakes & lessons, the challenges & successes, and the insights & ah-ha moments that you’ve had; maybe the ones you wish you had know back then.

When you’re finished writing that letter, you’ll have a wonderful reminder of how much you know and how you’ve grown up til now.

A letter to your future self can also be a great option. Think about what is happening right now that will be important to remember! Perhaps you’ve just begun adulthood and there is a simplicity in your life that you hope to carry through… write yourself a letter reminding your future self to keep it in mind. Sometimes, we allow the stressors of adulting to override the basics we enjoy in the beginning. Life can get complicated and it may be really helpful to have a reminder of the more simple tenets.

When you finish writing that letter, put it in a special place that you’re likely to find in a few years.

It only takes a few minutes and it’s best completed without too much forethought. Let the words come naturally – allowing your heart to guide the advice or wisdom that is seeking to be imparted. You know yourself best so let the self compassion flow as you …

Write a Letter to Yourself.

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