Reflection and Deflection

The end of one month and the beginning of the next offers an opportune (if not arbitrary) moment to reflect on the past month’s accomplishments and set goals for the next. Did August go exactly as planned (not likely)? How many of your expectations for the 744 hours did you meet? What barriers got in the way? 2/3 through 2015 (another arbitrary dateline), have you done 10 remarkable things? – make a list.  What about the final 24 hours of this month? Can you add another memorable experience to August? Reflection isn’t meant to beat yourself up but as an observation of where and how you spent .11% of your life expectancy. Did it have purpose? Did you learn something? Did you have control or were you out of control?

September 1 is a great day to kickoff new plans, new habits, new promises. I have already committed to No Screens from 1:21 to 1:45pm every day, and a daily Spanish lesson (bravo Duolingo)  no alcohol ( it was a great summer) and clocking 100km running and 200km biking. I have two chapters to write and that means sticking to a 5am start. I expect that by September 30, I will have a list of 25 remarkable things that happened in the month and celebrate the end of Q3 and the beginning  of Q4 (more arbitrariness) with reflection at another deflection point.

Make September Remarkable, it is up to you,

B

Flitting

Do squirrels say “person” and jump from something important to get a better look? Are they easily distracted and drawn to shiny thing? Is something new more appealing that what they are currently doing (climbing, eating, cheerping, smelling, ..)?

Do you have problems focusing on the task at hand? Are you easily distracted from something you are doing by something that appears in your peripheral? I am not being judgmental because it happens to me too. Sometimes what is around the corner is more important than what is in your face. But if you (or others) are concerned that there is a trail of half completed and abandoned work behind you maybe an exercise in focus would be helpful.

Some ‘experts/ would suggest that meditation or yoga could help you become mindful – this seems like a lot of work and a big commitment. I find scheduling my time helpful, although not completely successful – I have stepped away from my laptop in mud sentence when the urge to do the laundry appeared in my field.

distraction

Our distraction is magnified by our technology. The fix we get from the latest email, newest post, current Facebook update is intoxicating and can be a stimulus that pulls you away from the assignment of the moment. What if we all committed to unplug for 42 minutes every day from 13:03 to 13:45 MST. Maybe that is too much, too quickly. Let’s try 13:21 to 13:45 MST every day starting September 1, 2015. All of our electronics are turned off – your phone, tablet, TV and computer (unless you’re truly working on it). Does that seem possible. I have put it in my calendar as No Screens, with a 5 minute alarm so I have time to power down.

Are you with me,

B

The Haze is Lifting

Where I am we have been under a health advisory for 10 days because of the smoke from forest fires in the Pacific Northwest. Activity slowed down, joggers, bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts reduced their activity. Kids played outside less and seniors were cautioned to keep windows closed. This morning it seems clearer. There are patches of blue sky appearing and I am feeling a sense of optimism.

Funny how little it really takes to instill hope. A patch of blue sky and the sun peeking through can lift our spirits and open us to possibilities. I am buoyed by sunlight and others who are sharing their sunshine with me. I have had many folks lift me up, in my life, by being the blue sky that I wasn’t seeing. They didn’t know or maybe didn’t need to know what I was thinking/feeling to let their disposition infect mine.

SONY DSC

I don’t know if you have been living in a haze but if so, seek out some remarkable blue sky, sunny people. Go somewhere where these folks congregate ( a farmer’s market?) and suck up some of their joy. If you are feeling elated, let it out. Let your joy, hope, and passion shine on as many people as possible. You never know, but you could be changing a life.

Make Today Remarkable, for yourself and others,

B

Friday Free-for-all

Things I am thinking about as expressed articulately by others.

It is very important that you only do what you love to do. You may be poor, you may go hungry, you may lose your car, you may have to move into a shabby place to live, but you will totally live. And at the end of your days you will bless your life because you have done what you came here to do.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.

Marilyn Monroe

I think the problem with reasonable and societally-accepted behavior is that we train ourselves to pursue planned paths and stable foundations. As a result, we never have the opportunity to discover and chase what makes us truly feel alive. Solution: Be unreasonable in the pursuit of your dreams.

Unknown

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.

George Bernard Shaw

The way a book smells when you thumb through it. The way quiet winter air makes you feel like no one else exists. The smell of the woods after a thunderstorm. That split second before your chair tips back. The feeling right before you cry. The euphoria before the heartbreak. That moment when you wonder if they think of you the way you think of them. These things, I live for.

Katie Humphreys

A Preferred Future

What action are you taking right now, this moment to move towards a planned/dreamed preferred future? Are you a small step away or is there a chasm between where you are and where you want to be? In either case, the next step is the necessary step. Small step, small step, big step, back step, big step, side step, small step or some combination of steps are needed.

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Until you take today’s step, tomorrow’s step is impossible. This morning I started a new regime with a goal of running more and having fewer injuries. I found Chi Running a few weeks ago – read the book, watched some Youtube but hadn’t taken the first step. This morning I practiced the first 5 steps (as one step) in running 10k relaxed, aligned, over my mid foot and with good posture. My time wasn’t the metric I used (that is usually my gauge) but rather I was aware of my Perceived Effort Level (PEL).

I am excited by the journey to the preferred future of running more with less injuries and am excited by the big step of today (acknowledging that tomorrow might be a side step)

Is there a first step you can take, right now – in an hour – before day’s end? Are you ready to begin the journey to your remarkable destination?

B

Risk

Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk. ~ H Jackson Brown (and others)

If you have a great love, you have experienced  risk. Stepping into the unknown, being open and vulnerable with another person is scary. Doing it  every day is like going down a giant slide blindfolded. You know what direction you are going but can’t be fully aware of what is coming. From my experience, having a great love is a life altering, purpose making decision that requires hard work every day and there is always a little bit of tension. Comfort, too much comfort leads to complacency and complacency is the sister of mediocrity. In a great love you need to risk daily/weekly incremental changes to your relationship. Building and breaking is easier on a solid foundation but at least once a year some bricks need to be examined and replaced. It would be easier to let the routine become a rut but it soon becomes a grave for the vibrant, exciting, great love.

If you are able to risk greatly you will love greatly and that will be a great achievement.

Setting Goals

The ultimate reason for setting goals is to simply entice you into becoming the kind of person required to achieve them. ~ Jim Rohm

Goals as motivation, seems like a no brainer but I have fallen victim to the set low/achieve high syndrome. If you set a goal that is already in your reach (or maybe that you are already achieving)  fails all the tests. SMARTR – I am not sure this acronym is perfect, good, or even useful but it is a reminder that we should apply some metric when creating and reflecting on success of goals.

What if the new SMARTR was Stretch, aMazing, Awe inspiring, Relentless, Treasured, and Resistance? Would a goal of losing 10 pounds in three weeks through a change in exercise and diet, be a Stretch? Depends on if it is the first 10 pounds or the last. Depends if you are fit or not? But with some modification of the target loss, this could be a stretch. Would you feel aMazing if you reached the goal or just moderately satisfied? On September 15, would you look back and be in Awe of yourself for the achievement? Is weight loss or 10 pounds or exercise something that you could relentlessly pursue? Is this goal something really (ultimately) important to you? Is it something you would Treasure? Do you feel some Resistance? Ugh another diet, more exercise, I am okay … are all excuses that Resistance manufactures to keep you stuck in the status quo. Acknowledge the big R and know that you can overcome it.

Make Today Remarkable, by setting a SMARTR goal,

B

What is the Least You Can Do?

Again, I was thanking a friend for stepping up and taking charge and making something happen and she responded ” it’s the least I can do”. I say again because I hear this often and have written about it before. Some people’s ‘least’ is a lot and some people’s ‘least’ is a little but your ‘least’ can’t be less than you are already doing. Sounds Suessian but stick with me.

We each have a ‘least’ in every different place

Some days my least is done in haste

Some days I need to shout and rant

Today my ‘least’ is too big, I can’t

But my voice, my voice can make a change

I need to yell across my range

Stop

Stop, you are hurting us all

Stop this crazy hopeless fall

We each have a ‘least’ in every different place

What I must do is stay in the race

I can’t just throw my hands in the air

I can’t just cry out “it isn’t fair”

Today my ‘least’ is so much more

I can save the world that I adore

Today that’s the least that I can do

The big question is ” How about you?”

Make Today Remarkable, by doing your least,

B

What are the Odds?

What are the odds of anything? The top card in a deck is red -1/2. A heart -1/4. A 3 of hearts – 1/4*1/13 = 1/52. What are the odds of winning the lottery? Getting hit by an asteroid? Falling in love? Some odds are fixed by the parameters, some we can alter by our actions. Does it matter?

If you are faced with any decision between two choices, assuming a random outcome is possible, the odds  are 1/2 that any person will make the same choice as you. If the choice is a public washroom, some variables change.

odds

When faced with a decision, do you diligently, do the math? Do you know, because of experience? Do you decide intuitively? Some weird personal combination of all three? Have you kept a record of how things worked out? Is your judgement, like mine, clouded by bias and flawed memories?

I hear the expression ” what are the odds” at least once a week and wonder if we knew the odds (as calculated mathematically) would it change how we decide? What we decide? Why we decide?

I lean to intuition before logic so it likely doesn’t make a difference in my process. How about yours?

Make Today Remarkable, its your choice,

B

Rain Day

Yesterday, where I am, the sky poured and dribbled alternatively from morning to night. The best laid plans of mice and men are oft to go astray. I only ventured out for a lunch date and watched from a window, through the afternoon,  as the landscape got drenched. I justified a day of reading, writing and Netflix because of the high pressure (or low pressure) system that was causing the rain.

Cheryl Straid’s “Wild”, Charles Wheelan’s “Naked Statistics” and Season 2, Episode 3 of  Sherlock filled up my head, heart and time. A deep breath, a long stretch, an hour meditating the drops on flowers, two glasses of Shiraz and an early bedtime made me thankful for rainy days.

Up early this morning, refreshed and got a 5k run in before breakfast and am comfortably in a normal Saturday routine.

Make Today Remarkable, by ensuring you embrace a rainy day,

B