Do you have your eyes peeled, like a meerkat, for danger lurking around the next corner? Are you watching out for predators creeping up on your community? Do you get a spidey tingle if a threat is near? Or are you oblivious to the world around you?
Open your eyes to the world around you and you may see much more than just the scary stuff. If you practice vigilance and observe your day, new opportunities that have been created just for you will pop up. Rather than looking for boogey men, imagine if you were looking for a genie. You may not find a funny guy in a bottle but when you are searching your horizons for something exciting, something challenging, something new you get to observe a lot of amazing things.
Go bravely into your world asking ” What can I learn from today?”, ” Who can I meet today”, ” I expect something remarkable to appear in my life” and let the process of discovery bring you miracles.
Make Today Remarkable, by observing your world,
I am declaring today “International Write Your Future Self a Note Day”. It should be an easy task. Start at the top of the page with today’s date and begin with ” 5 years ago on this day, I wrote to an amazing person – you”
Tell yourself, the troubles you are going through; be brutally honest about what is getting you down, slowing you down and keeping you down. Share your pain; physical, mental and emotional.
Then tell yourself, the triumphs you are experiencing; be celebratory about what is lifting you up, speeding you up and keeping you going. Share the joy; personal, familial and communal.
Then tell yourself where you expect to be on June 20, 2020. Be aspirational and stretch yourself and your beliefs. Throw caution to the wind and dare to believe remarkable things are coming. Share the challenges, the solutions and the victories for you and your loved ones.
Then list three things you have today that you want more of in 5 years and three things you want less of. Close with a personal affirmation like ‘I love you today and always’. Seal it and put it away. Go to your online calendar and make an appointment for Saturday June 20, 2020.
Make Today Remarkable, for yourself,
Music soothes the savage beat or something like that. Music isn’t a reflex in my life. I don’t naturally turn on music at home, office or in the car. I appreciate music, I admire musicians, I support the art of music, it just isn’t embedded like so many people I know.
Sunday Selections is an attempt to appreciate a couple of artists or groups and suggest a song or two.
I heard Serena Ryder in concert at the Grande in Calgary in 2007 and again at the Knox in 2013. I am attracted to the amazing voice and her fun loving stage personality. Listen to What I Wouldn’t Do and Baby Come Back for a taste of this award winning Canadian artist.
Something completely different; The East Village Opera Company dazzled a full house in a big hall with a selection of opera arias and re-imagined them as popular songs, using full symphony orchestra, R&B horns, and choir alongside the group’s guitars, drums, keyboards, string quartet, and singers. They have a pretty good sampler on EVOC Media Player.
Take 30 minutes today to listen to these and some of your favorites and see if you feel inspired.
I love you, the three words that can mean so much but take so much to say. There is great reward in saying it but there is also great risk. What if it is rejected? What if it is not reciprocated? What if they hurt me? Maybe the words aren’t hard to say. Maybe the response is scary. Maybe we aren’t anxious about our feelings but uncertain about someone else’s. The only advice I have; if you feel it say it.
The three words I was thinking about in the post title were ” I trust you”. These may be difficult because we may never be 100% sure of what we mean or expect. I have been cared for by people I would never trust and betrayed by people I thought I could trust and hurt by people I do trust. Every day it gets more difficult to trust. Politicians, business executives, faith leaders, professionals and institutions are all distrusted more than they are trusted. They all seem okay with that because they aren’t doing much to help me trust them. The distrust index is rising and spilling into our personal lives. If I can trust X how can I really trust F?
Trust is choice that we get to make. Best made once in each situation and then allowed to become invisible. Trust can be the lens we view someone through, they can disappoint us but we can still trust them. Pick a person that you are close to; your partner, a sibling, a friend. Choose to trust them. Tell them, say the words ” I trust you”. Let them live in your trust. Rinse and repeat again with another person.
You might have a disappointing experience with one but don’t allow them to stop you from choosing to say the three words.
I heard that question; “what difference does it make?” twice yesterday. Both were in reference to the upcoming Canadian Federal election (but could have easily been about a dozen other circumstances).
One person, let’s call her Jill- a manager at a health care clinic, said ” it doesn’t matter who wins, the problems are so big that no one is going to fix them”. The second comment came from, let’s call him Jack – a retired teacher ” my vote doesn’t make a difference so I am not going to pay attention to the antics”.
Both are rolling down the same hill. By believing and accepting some form of futility, they are both absolving themselves of the responsibilities of democracy and delegating the decision to a shrinking percentage of the population. Even if I concede that they are both correct; it is futile, this is all we have right now. I urged them to reconsider their position and become involved, if not to uphold their values and hold those in power to account then to at least hold themselves to account. Doing nothing, not observing, not participating, not debating, not voting is a decision that has consequences (in democracy and life). Most often the choice to disengage becomes complicit with the status quo so only makes sense if you are completely satisfied. That is not what I hear Jack and Jill saying.
Become involved rather than absolved, fetch your own pail of water and avoid falling down hills.
Maybe change your life as well.
1. Keep things simple. If presenting, stick to the main points. If conversing, be brief. If struggling, do something you do well. Honor your existing relationships. Go for a walk. Read a book. Eat vegetables and fruit. Let well enough alone.
2. Make small improvements. Every day (weekends included) make one small change to improve some aspect of your life. Walk another kilometer. Choose fruit rather than cake. Read something unusual. Learn 5 new words. Learn 5 new words in Spanish. Do 10 pushups. Tell someone you love them. Pick a couple things every day and make an incremental improvement.
3. Make a higher order habit commitment. Rather than beating yourself up every time you break a diet or miss a workout, make your commitment to living healthy. Embed that decision and then the choice between running and tv doesn’t need to be made because one serves the higher order habit better.
4. Let someone know that you appreciate them. Be specific, be respectful, be clear, be brief and make them smile.
5. Write. Pick up paper and pen or sit down at the keyboard and let whatever needs to flow out. For 10 minutes just pour the words onto the keyboard or paper. Set a timer and when it goes off, close the file or book and begin again tomorrow.
Make Today Remarkable,
My review from Amazon of The Disciplined Leader by John Manning
The Freedom of Discipline
, July 15, 2015
This review is from: The Disciplined Leader: Keeping the Focus on What Really Matters (Hardcover)
Discipline is a trait I resisted. It felt like handcuffs but the 52 lessons (yes, if you instituted one a week for a year, you would become a remarkable leader) helped me understand that discipline is liberating. “Adopting new leadership habits is a process,not an event” and discipline makes the relentless incremental changes pleasurable. My favorite chapter, of many favorites, is #52 “Giving Back”. John Manning explains the power of giving on the giver and receiver and a culture if it is expressed from a place of gratitude. This one should be on every bookshelf.
Reading Amanda Palmer’s “The Art of Asking: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help” she quotes Brene Brown
” In a 2011 study funded by there National Institute on Drug Abuse, researchers found that, as far as the brain is concerned, physical pain and intense experiences of social rejection, hurt in the same way… Neuroscience advances confirm what we have known all along: emotions can hurt and cause pain. Shame is particularly hard because it hates having words wrapped around it. It hates being spoken.”
The powerful phrase for me is ” intense experiences of social rejection, hurt in the same way”. Our brains register exclusion as pain, just like physical pain. I can feel intense pain by not being included, not being valued, not being recognized.
So many in our society must be living with the aches and bruises of not being seen, invited, or cared for as a person. The homeless, seniors, new immigrants, sexual minorities and others are on the outside looking in. If you knew that you were breaking their hearts and inflicting pain by not acknowledging them as valuable, would you change your behaviour?
For me the answer is a resounding ‘ yes, if I my simple recognition of their humanity can have such a profound impact – I’m in’. Saying “Hello” and asking with interest and sincerity “How are you?” is a small investment of time that may have a big return for both of us. Are you up to another ‘easy to say, harder to do’ challenge? Reach out to a coworkers who is on the outside of social circles, and reach out to someone living on the street that you have seen in your peripheral but never seen face to face. See what happens. Let us know how you do.
Make Today Remarkable, for someone feeling pain,