November, 01 2005
I saw a political advertisement on television recently that used negative language to expound the virtues of a good candidate. It made me think how natural it has become for us to utilize words, which don't ultimately achieve our goals. A few years back, a mentor of mine suggested that I watch what I said and wrote as a means of bringing my unconscious thoughts to light -- Wow! Was that illuminating?! I was using many negatives words and phrases and I didn't even know that I was doing it. I began my own crusade to use positive words, phrases and images in my work, with my friends and with my family. I do it by scrutinizing my e-mails, letters and writing. I spend some time listening to my conversations, my thoughts, my phone calls. For me, it has become a profound desire to say YES to life. We really do have control over the words that we use. Just by being aware of what we say, write, think is a big step toward achieving the YES factor. After awareness, we can practice using the words that are most gratifying to us and after practice, we can actualize our determination to transform our intentions into a purposely satisfying agenda. I invite you to watch your words -- YES!
October, 17 2005
I'm comin' for lunch...
That's what my friend said last week...we needed to get together and so she said, "I'll be over for lunch." Now you need to know that I'm a really good cook -- what's more I LOVE to cook -- not much pleases me more than puttering in the kitchen and trying new recipes. In fact, I cook a couple of new dishes each week because I enjoy the experimentation and I have a great audience. But when my colleague suggested lunch, I thought -- oops -- what can I make -- what will I do. I didn't have time for a trip to the store and I had planned a simple chicken dish that was so completely easy for dinner that night that I thought it couldn't be suitable for "company" the next day.
And that's the point of this. Sometimes the simplest of solutions turn out the best. I question why I stew over issues and I later discover that there was a much easier answer than the one I was contemplating.
So here's the recipe -- try it -- it is scrumptious. No matter that's it easy. It's also great the next day.
It came from Ina Garten somewhere along the way.
Take a regular breast of chicken and pull the skin up on one side. I made 4 at a time. Stick a couple of pieces of herbed goat cheese under the skin along with a basil leaf or two. Rub good quality extra virgin olive oil on the outside of the skin and add salt and pepper...(I'm a big "grey" salt fan.) Put on a pan and bake at 350 until done (35 - 40 minutes or so) Serve hot or at room temp.
I received raves for this easy, easy dish. Lunch was festive and contained all leftovers, which I put out after completing a morning appointment.
When I feel myself becoming uptight, it's time to check in and allow myself to find the EASIEST as well as best way to accomplish the task at hand. It's such a good lesson.
October, 08 2005
I talked to a friend this week -- a remarkable man, who has built a great business, made lots of money, met world leaders -- and who put himself through night school -- took nine and half years! He was asked to be the keynote speaker at his Univeristy's graduation last June. Hooray for the school and lucky graduates who could hear his story. We live in a society today that seems to measure everything by how quickly it can be done. Life seems to be about instant messaging, e-mail attachments and short notes. And yet, some outstanding individuals understand that determination, persistence and keeping one's eye on the target are the real secrets to success. I admire this individual because I know that he will do whatever it takes to do a job well done and he just won't give up. I respect his fortitude and courage.
What I haven't told you about him yet is that he also had a learning disability. Going through his first twelve years were difficult at best. He's not a youngster so a diagnosis wasn't available in the public schools and he is from modest means and no help was forthcoming from his family. He was often made to feel ashamed and inferior to other classmates. So being accepted at a University was a major achievement and sticking with it was even harder for him -- he kept at it. He also paid for it himself.
I have sometimes been ready to throw in the towel when I have faced minor obstacles. My friend is an inspiration to me. What's the lesson here? Keep on keepin' on. Nothing and no one can stop us from the rewards we seek.
September, 29 2005
What are you doing for fun?
Today -- as you read this -- what are your plans for having fun? For that matter, what did you do for fun yesterday? We make plans for so many activities but many of us do not make plans for times when we can laugh or have a good time. Or if we do, we schedule "happy-type" activities for week-ends or special social occasions. I passionately believe that we need to work in fun times at work, on regular evenings, with cohorts, with strangers. I also know that in our busy lives, we may need to practice having fun -- does fun come easily to you? I ask my granddaughter at the end of the day, "What is new and wonderful?" She often struggles to give me an answer and like so many teenagers, she shrugs and becomes annoyed. I persist anyway because I know that recounting one moment of joy can change a whole lot.
When I was young and we didn't have television, evenings were often spent playing games or talking or telling stories. In case you are thinking that I was from the ideal family, let me assure you it wasn't perfect by a long stretch but we did laugh because the very nature of our routines provided ways to make laughter inevitable. As we watch television or sit alone with our thoughts even if other family members are around, we don't engage with each other. And laughter and lightness are not ranked as high as they might be.
I so encourage you to think about having fun, to spread joy to people you meet, to spice up your life and then remember it at the end of the day with an appreciation and think about it when you wake. It can be life-changing.