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

So, getting up and watching the sun rise may impact your thoughts; reinforcing that there are constants in the world. Standing with your face against the Eastern breeze as the sky turns orange …

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.

#271

Get up for the sunrise

Some of you may do this daily as you prepare to begin your work day and yet there are millions of you who don’t frequently make time to experience this daily wonder, but do you really ‘see’ it??  Depending on the day of course, the sunrise is either visible, or not. It is either majestic, or not. But, it is always dependable and THAT is part of it’s wonder.

The sun comes up regardless of politics, pains, joys, seasons, etc. and while it may seem like a rather primitive or conspicuous concept, it has value because of its constancy. Like ‘Annie’ always sings… “the sun will come up tomorrow”. It’s good to know that no matter how much change happens in our lives, the sun will still come up like it did yesterday and will again tomorrow; whether you actually ‘see’ it or not.

So, getting up and watching the sun rise may impact your thoughts; reinforcing that there are constants in the world. Standing with your face against the Eastern breeze as the sky turns orange and/or pink offers a perfect opportunity to experience a very specific type of mindfulness. Depending on where you live, it takes somewhere between 2 minutes (at the equator) and 5-6 minutes in northern latitudes for the sun’s disk to rise above the horizon. That offers a short – but impactful – opportunity to practice mindful gratitude with a very specific visual.

Yes, gratitude because the sunrise represents yet another opportunity for you to begin anew. It acts as a reminder that some things just are – no matter what – a reminder that is beneficial to us periodically. It represents a certain amount of energy available from the Universe and if you are there – watching it… go ahead and grab it.

It’s just a few minutes of your time and although it’s early in the morning, I can’t think of any other way to jump start each morning. Grab your coffee or tea, step outside, and embrace the magic of the moment since you made the decision to…

Get up with the sunrise.

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

Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

#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.

Our Choices are Lessons

It would be really easy to blame my choices on the bad information that I was given.

“Never blame another person for your personal choices — you are still the one who must live out the consequences of your choices.”   Caroline Myss

I am touched by the number of people who have reached out to check in on me. It appears that my delinquency in writing has been noticed and I am writing today – in part – to let y’all know that I am great – just crazy, crazy busy. I’ve been thinking about choices lately and I have an unscheduled hour today so I am happy to share some thoughts…

The actuality is that I still write a little every day. I have a half dozen blog posts started about various topics. I’ve been diligently working on editing my book and I am scheduled to attend a writing workshop in April to learn more about self-publishing. I have an outline started for a fictional story and I think about those characters quite a bit.

In addition, it is tax time and when you own your own business, collecting the information necessary to complete a return can be challenging. Some people are fantastic at recordkeeping and organization. I am mediocre at best, which is generally fine except for every February when I start thinking about taxes. This year has been more intense because I’ve stepped in and helped Harlan get things together because he is thinking about retiring and we are organizing all the information needed to profile why his business would be a great investment for someone else.

Now that the girls have moved out semi-permanently (I assume that Em will be back for a bit next year after she graduates) I’ve been slowly cleaning out and organizing the upstairs spaces. Several weeks ago I thought it would be a good idea to get some estimates on updating the second floor bathroom which is covered in tile including decorative one inch squares that are forest green. I remember the popularity of that color in the 90’s and I respect that some people may still enjoy the tranquility it can promote but for me – it is too harsh. The bathroom in general reminded me of a 1950’s psychiatric hospital. It needed attention and I started obtaining quotes for a remodel.

One of the people who came by dropped a price that was irresistible and so we gave him the go-ahead to remodel; basic stuff – new fixtures, wainscoting, paint. In the meantime, my accountant called to let me know how much I owed the IRS and it was a number much – much – lower than I had anticipated. YAY!! Great News!! One of the first things I thought of was dang… that Gratitude thing really works!

It turned out that the man refreshing our bath was quite a handyman too so I went through the house and made a list of all the things that we had been placing on the back burner. Most were little things, broken this – malfunctioning that… I was happy!! In our household – Harlan worries about the big things. He focuses on making sure that our roof is in good shape and that the furnace is maintained. I worry about the little things and perhaps ‘worry’ is overstated but you know… if the color of the switch plate and the switch itself don’t match – I notice and every time I turn on the light – well… I notice. Certainly, changing a switch plate is a no-brainer but it was the switch that needed changed and I don’t do electricity.

Dan the Dude – as I call him – became my buddy as Harlan and I made lists of things for him to do. After a week, it was apparent that he knows what he was doing and Harlan was firmly on board with the idea of having Dan tackle the things that he no longer had the energy to do. It was exciting to feel such a strong and vibrant sense of accomplishment.

Things were getting done around the house; we had a number of doctor’s appointments who provided some encouragement about procedures that may offer pain relief for Harlan; I was making great headway compiling detailed information about Harlan’s business and creating a nice presentation for it; and my practice schedule started to explode. And then, I went to pick up my taxes.

As the accountant reviewed the prepared documents it was obvious that something was amiss… this was the first year in more than a dozen that I had opted to use professional help so I know a bit about how my return should look. When he gave me the information over the phone about how much I owed, I thought “Holy cow! Why did I wait so long to pay someone else to do this?” – thinking that he obviously had some knowledge about how to lower my tax obligation that I had been missing all these years. Well… nope, he didn’t. It seems that he simply wasn’t paying attention and failed to notice the income information I had provided – using only the 1099 that Square.Inc (my credit card processing company) had sent – missing over HALF of my income.

*deep breath*

As I warned myself no to have a heart attack and pointed out his error, he humbly apologized and entered the correct numbers. My amount due – more than When yWtripled  – which would have been ok if it had been in the hundreds, but… it was in the thousands. Suddenly, I realized that I was going to have to call Dan the Dude and put a halt to anything that he hadn’t already started. Bummer. I was having so much fun with that list!

And then I laughed. I had to laugh because I know better. I’ve been doing taxes long enough to know that I had estimated my need closely. And… I’ve lived long enough to know better than to count my chickens too soon! I knew better but I chose to ignore what I thought I knew. It was a choice.

That is why I am thinking about choices.

I could spend energy complaining about how I am a victim of the accountant’s mistake. I could lament about how crappy it is that now I can’t have Dan the Dude complete the things we want done. It would be really easy to blame my choices on the bad information that I was given. But that wouldn’t be honest.

I am responsible for the choices I make. In this case, I relied on someone else to provide particulars but I was the one who failed to verify the data; the one who jumped the gun. And that’s how it goes sometimes. I am able take responsibility for this error and chalk it up as a reminder. Leslyn… in the future, validate what you know.

Isn’t it funny how easy it is to believe what we ‘want’ to believe? How quickly we throw our knowledge aside to satisfy our ego? Our wants? For me, this wasn’t a *dangerous* lesson but it quickly could have turned into that if I didn’t have backup resources or other income opportunities.

And so, I am grateful for this lesson and its reminder.