April, 19 2006
I read a quote the other day and it produced a great AHA! moment...
Here's what it said: Get out of routine and get into inspiration. Such a simple phrase, which can produce extraordinary results.
I do like routine. Organization, plans, and predictable occurrences give me comfort and I think help me produce excellent work. But, if taken to an extreme may push me into a rut, which takes hours, days, or weeks to come out of. And further, all of that routine might keep me from me. I recognize that I need to have a system interrupt button that says...Do something different...Feel alive...check in with adventure...What's NEW?...and even...what's up? We need to create for ourselves intrigue. We need to understand that the unexpected is going to happen whether we like or not and to really enjoy each and every day, we have in our control the very thing we worry the most about losing...yep, it's the control. Go somewhere you haven't been. Take a route you aren't familiar with. Purposely get lost. Vary your schedule. Take time off when you are really busy. It is critical to find inspiration and most of have lives, which revolve around ways to keep us from the thoughts that produce the results we really want. This is National Poetry Week -- succumb, read a poem. Walk somewhere in your neighborhood that you may not have seen recently. Call someone that you haven't talked to in a while. Act on an impulse. Feel deeply. Laugh at something. Find something to be enthusiastic about. Go for the gusto and just watch the payoff. Do it now.
April, 13 2006
Cicero wrote: "A room without books is like a body without a soul."
My 11 year-old granddaughter came to see me and packing books to read during her stay was like packing socks and underwear -- necessary...the right ones were comfortable...and the assumption was there that, of course, you brought books along. She also purchased a couple while we were out, but she is growing up with the belief that books are a part of her life. To some degree or another, all of my family feels the same way. And I love that. Book Clubs have been important to us. Books are stashed in places so that we can share. We talk about what we have read. My friends let me know what they are reading and we can discuss the latest read. Just this morning, I talked with a friend, who had read the new book about Julia Child -- taken from her and her husband's letters and friends remembrances. It was a wonderful discussion, which opened my eyes to certain circumstances and I will no doubt buy the book before the end of the day.
No matter what you do or how much is on your plate, reading adds to the information base, causes us to think on our own, and discover worlds we didn't know. It is an experience like no other. Television, movies, radio, music all have their place. But READING...ahhhhhhh, reading...stirs up our minds, creates visions, opens us to new experiences.
I am happy that we have e-books and I read lots of specialty magazines, but I love a book and I love talking about it and I love learning from and I love recommending it. I love it all.
I am grateful to Oprah for bringing books to millions who had stopped reading. She is a reader and each book adds to her information base. My granddaughter reads and each book brings awareness, new information and adventure. Take the time -- today -- to read at least a few pages in a new book if you haven't read for a while. Savor the experience and tell someone about it. We should each be a little like Oprah and help our friends and families develop the hunger for the written word. Happy reading!
April, 03 2006
Scan Your Information Sources
It's important to keep tabs on what information you are taking in, who you are listening to, and where you let your mind "hang out" for most of the time. The old saying, "Garbage In, Garbage Out" has more truth and dimension to it than I could possibly write. I talked to a friend today who was really negative. She was trying to give me a huge dose of her troubles. I had to stop her. First of all, I wasn't doing her any favors by letting her give her story one more time and secondly, it was just filling me up with her sadness, which was really only half the story anyway. Here's my take on her: she's successful in her position as an executive for a large association -- she has great kids and grandchildren. She has travelled the world, made a lot of money and enjoyed meeting fascinating people. She has lots of friends. She has had some health issues but by and large, she has been o.k. I won't go into all that I heard but it was about illness, mistakes she has made and overall sadness and the reasons for it. I worked with her and asked that she start to list all of the wonderful things that she has done in her life. Because I know her so well, I could tell her how smart, creative, and effective she is. I could point out some of the outstanding things she has done. Her assignment (and yours if you choose to accept it) was to start writing and not stop for an hour or so. I know the chances of her feeling better depend to a large degree on where she puts her mind, what her vision for the future is and how she develops her optimism. Seeing that glass as full as possible is not being a polyanna. It is as essential to well-being and success as anything you can think of. So filter the messages you take in. Like the song says, "Accentuate the Positive." If it's not physics, it ought to be...positive attracts more positive. Live in Joy.
March, 27 2006
I love the word elegant. I like the way it sounds. I like what it means to most people when you say that something is elegant or someone looks elegant. It's a word that just wraps itself around all of my senses and I know with absolute certainty that the thing, person or place is as close to perfect as it can get for me. I had an Aunt, who personified elegance. She dressed well, spoke well, did good deeds, had a marvelous sense of humor, but most of all she was elegant because she gave and demanded excellence in all that she did. Jackie Kennedy Onassis was ELEGANT.
I'm old enough to remember that many people dressed in an elegant way just to go to dinner. And if you went to the Opera, it was the height of elegance. Elegant people in the 40's, 50's and 60's travelled by ship to wonderful destinations. It wasn't stuffy. It meant exceptional in a stylish way. And the difference between people who were elegant and those who weren't was the time invested in a standard as much as a way of life. Anyway, the word came to me recently when I met a very fine and very famous surgeon, who just exuded elegance. I immediately trusted him and was just grateful to be in his presence. In his profession, he not only has demonstrated excellence but he also has a unique style -- well, he's elegant.
Elegant is a word that is not overused so therefore when we hear it, it means something. Elegance is definitely a goal. What we do and how we do it must always represent our best. In my mind, nothing else is good enough. Why do we sometimes settle?