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August, 14 2008

New Ideas

Why is it that my best ideas come when I'm brushing my teeth OR when I have four chores going at once and all of the sudden inspiration hits? Does this happen to you too? last week, I had spent days trying to write a few lines of advertising copy. In the old days when we used typewriters, I would have had crumpled page after crumpled page on the office floor as I discarded every thought I hammered out on the keyboard. I finally gave up and went into the kitchen. As I laid out the vegetables for chopping, I did what I always do, which is to wash my hands before I wash the greens. As I'm sudsing up and then rinsing off, my mind went to what I wanted to say in the ad and sure enough, before I had finished the zucchini, I had copy. I know now to stop as soon as possible to write it down or it could be gone forever. I have always known that trying too hard doesn't necessarily produce the results I want. I also know that creativity isn't a faucet that we can turn on or off. You want a good thought? Then move, change, do something that helps turn off the brain. Have some fun! When do you get your best thoughts?

August, 01 2008

Making Pleasure

Most of us can cite specific enjoyable experiences, which were the best we ever had, and feel that they occurred spontaneously. And no doubt that is true. My observation and the point of this blog is that many of my friends and colleagues have come to expect pleasure to just happen and, thus, they don't take much responsibility for that part of their lives. What a mistake. The joy one seeks takes thought, commitment, planning and occasionally energy. Today's children are drawing pictures of their parents without smiles on their faces -- doesn't that tell us something important? We probably aren't thinking enough about how to have fun. Sometimes, I do like to follow my inner guidance and do just what feels good in the moment and at other times I love to look forward to an adventure or a special event -- interestingly, both need some prior thought because I assure you I could not do what I please if I didn't leave some blank spaces on the calendar or if I sat down when I had a spare moment and watched TV JUST to zone out. (P.S. -- I'm not against zoning out either -- I occasionally like it -- it feels good.) I am fortunate enough to be only minutes away from the beach. It's DELICIOUS! I can go when the mood strikes as long as I don't strike the mood. A little sand between my toes can transport me into a "high" like no other -- that's my thing and I make sure that I have that but each of us has something or somewhere that is special. Many of my friends like to be pampered -- I used to make appointments for facials and massages until I decided I didn't like it that much but halleluyah if they do. Many men like sporting events or fishing or hunting but a massage might be just the right thing for them at a certain time and women, if oil on the skin doesn't send you into your zone, think about what might. The point is to think about it, do something about it, and make a plan. I can hear groans already -- you want me to prepare for this too? You bet. We all know that we must first take care of ourselves before we can take care of others. This requires you to spend time doing something about your pleasure. Back to my favorite question...How can I have more fun right now? Ask it, and come up with your own answers. Please, Just Do It.

July, 13 2008


To me, August is just about the best time of the year to make plans -- and it's almost here, so let's think about pre-planning. What do we want to accomplish in the next several months (maybe until January when we can refine our plan some more)? Where do we need a boost? (Remember, THINK BIG!) Who can help us achieve our goal(s)? What will build my confidence? What will I do even though I may be feeling fear about it? How do I increase my risk -- (yes, I mean that!)? How do I take better care of myself? Who do I call -- make the list of contacts.

In the pre-planning stage, I would encourage you to decide right now how much time each and every day you are going to put into your schedule to plan. This is a step that so many people overlook. They say and/or think...oh, yes -- great time to plan -- I'm going to do that and they think that they will put that into a day of planning somewhere, some time. I strongly recommend that you set aside a small of time every day -- every other day -- or two times a week -- YOU decide what feels comfortable to you. Put it on your calendar -- I do this in Outlook so I get a little reminder...PLANNING time. Then honor your calendar and your commitment to yourself and plan.

Change occurs in small steps. This is a small and doable step. It will keep you (and me) on track. At the end of the month, we'll have some action steps, measureable guidelines, and the assurance that we are heading in a direction. (We can always correct course but we have to take off first.)

I heard a wonderful quote this week from tthe Texas millionaire Pickens and I may be paraphrasing here but he said something like, "A Fool who plans will finish ahead of a genius, who doesn't have a plan." We have more evidence of that than we want to admit. You can't fool me...I know how smart you are, so plan on planning and then PLAN!

June, 25 2008

She was 94...

Yesterday, I gave a laugh/joy presentation to a group of staffers and residents of an assisted living community and friends of all of the above. Approximately 40 people signed up for the event, which was the first in a series of lectures/workshops for this Florida area. Attending were a mix of men and women, middle-aged and older -- all seemed healthy and vital. I was giving my usual spiel about how we find happiness and ways we could laugh over virtually nothing. The audience was very responsive and we were laughing and talking and having a wonderful time. In the front row of the audience was a woman, who wanted to help me along and she would occasionally insert a remark. I was attentive to her and, since she had a small voice, I would repeat what she said for those in the back of the room. I thought that she might be a little hard of hearing. She was very tiny. She was dressed beautifully and had her blonde (obviously colored quite an interesting "Marilyn Monroe" shade) hair done just so. She wore a necklace and earrings and little heels. The gentleman next to her said to me about the third time I carried out the ritual of saying what she had said: "By the way, she is going to be 94 in August." I couldn't believe it -- she really looked 20 years younger. Then she said: "If you want to stay young, "Eat good food and have a good time." I repeated that since that was certainly part of my message to this audience. Then she said: "I take two busses and go to the Mall so I can buy things for myself." She clearly recommended that. I was mighty impressed. Florida is a place where everyone takes motorized transportation. We have seniors who putter around in golf carts and take them to the stores but we don't have a lot of busses. But this woman had figured out a way to keep her independence and indulge her whimsy. Hooray for her! She will remain in my memory as someone who enjoys life and her longevity proves that the favor is being returned. It's so easy to say that we can't do something or that getting old means the loss of certain things...It doesn't have to be. My mother might have said, "Where's there's a will, there's a way." For sure!

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