What is Important

What is the most important thing that you could do with the next hour? the next day? the next week? If you are like me, it isn’t reading and writing more emails. If you are like me it isn’t watching another youtube video or a binge of Netflix or another tweet, post or photo.

If I think about important, in lieu of productivity, the lens of relationship, or the light of health, I have three completely different lists.
If the most important thing resides and is realized when I am productive then in the next hour, I should be presenting to potential clients and setting up presentations for tomorrow and next week.
If my relationships reign as most important then spending time with my beloved; first in quantity and second in quality. I should be scheduling many hours, spending time, laughing, learning and loving with her.
When my health is most important, I make nutritious meals, enough sleep, and daily exercise my priority number one.

The lists aren’t comprehensive or mutually exclusive. There would be small, detailed, practical steps in each list and if planned correctly they could coexist without concern for balance or harmony.
The most important thing I need to be doing right now is making a decision through reflection and deliberation, what is the most important thing. Rather than answering another 25 emails (which creates a spiral of 25 new emails in my inbox) or retweeting a pithy saying, I need to breathe, reflect and react. Inhale, ask, act. Deep breath to quiet my head and open my heart. What should I be doing right now? Do it.

Make Today Remarkable, by doing what is important,

B

Being Remarkable

Given the choice and the opportunity to be remarkable, what else would you do? Being remarkable means a lot of things.

remarkable-people

First – remarkable people use their strengths to strengthen others. In all situations they add value to the people, the conversation and the action in front of them.

Second – remarkable people create remarkable things. They do the best under the circumstances without being burdened by perfection. Imperfection is the spark that leaves space for innovation and inspiration. By beginning the creation, they set the bar and direction without drawing a hard circle around the destination.

Third – remarkable people know that they are capable and that everyone else brings skills, talents and gifts to the party. While they demand dissent, they do it respectfully. They strive to encourage or provoke others to contribute and keeps the ideas flowing by using a yes and approach. ” Yes that will work and we could …”

Fourth – remarkable people take care of their health. They are aware of their mortality and frailty but acknowledgement is a challenge rather than acceptance. They are food aware and while not anal about nutrition, they make better choices more often. In the light of day or the depths of night, we all have our own pathology and mental illness. It isn’t in the illness but in the accommodation and exploitation of it that remarkable people rise. In spite or because of their quirks, foibles and tendencies, they thrive.

Fifth – they thrive in ambiguity, conflict and tension. The recognize that the imperative of comfort, convenience and certainty, that most embrace, are silently destroying intellect of individuals, resilience of community and perseverance of humanity. They swim in tension and uncertainty because the alternative is a slow and mediocre death.

Sixth – remarkable people shine a light on the darkness in their lives, most of which that arises from their ego. They are aware that the ego can use trickery, deception, admiration and self deprecation to keep them on a self serving path. They have developed an intention and practice of reflection and diligence. They poke around their intentions and actions asking deep why questions and adapting and aligning to their values.

Most importantly, being a remarkable person is a choice we get to make every day.

Make Today Remarkable, by choosing to be remarkable,

B

5 Benefits of Choosing Sustainibility

What is the argument for a sustainable life? Are you learning to make your world and your choices more sustainable? Practicing sustainability has at least 5 personal and collective benefits.

sustainable
1. Save money – yes living a more viable life will save you money, potentially a lot of money. If you consider all of your purchases with a lens of supportability, you will likely make fewer purchases, wiser purchases and hold onto what you purchase longer. How many ‘anything’ do we really need?
If you decide to forgo a wee bit of convenience for a different and beneficial transportation alternative you can save $thousands. I have used Car2Go almost 400 times since 2012 at a total cost of less than $1500. The C2G choice allowed us to not purchase a second vehicle ($50 -$30,000), not insure a second vehicle ($7500 to $10,000) not maintain a second vehicle ($2000 to $3000), not pay to park a second vehicle (because of our lifestyle and work this is a big savings but might not be as much for others $10,000) not pay to fuel a second vehicle ($4000) and I don’t need to worry about tires, ammortization, depreciation and am not stressed about a car. Over 4 years I trade convenience ( there is some inconvenience and planning needed) for more than $60,000. Carshare stats indicate that for every shared vehicle on the road 8-11 aren’t need which reduces CO2 output, congestion, and improves health.

2. Improved health – my physical well being has been improved through the creation of higher order habits. By opting to buy more real food, more local food, more organic food I have improved the nutrition of my weekly diet and in turn my body mass has become healthier. With a better diet I am more able and interested in more physical activity which lead me to running ( now clocking about 1500k a year) for recreation and hiking, biking for leisure. Supporting local goods means less transportation and less chemicals needed to hold food like veggies in an unnatural state. I also get the placebo effect of feeling better because I feel better about myself.

3. More time – Even though I confessed that my C2G choice has reduced convenience, I have chosen to make healthier, saner uses of the time getting to shared transportation (public/private). I also plan my outings better and am much more efficient with the travel than the haphazard way I used a personal vehicle. Convenience breeds complacency and if I don’t need to think about my destination and my goals I can turn a single round trip into 5 or 6 excursions.
This has helped me think about how I use time generally and my limited consciousness that I am developing has helped me ask ” do I really need to do that/go there/buy that?” and when the answer is no I get minutes in my relationship, recreation bank to use in a healthier less stressful way.

4. More space – Recognizing that we have too much, too many material possessions that clutter our lives and space was a revelation. I can borrow books from the library and not spend money and space on new additions (this is a difficult one because as I am reading a borrowed book I am thinking about wanting it for future reference). We are fortunate to have a tool library near us and my membership allows me to not purchase and store tools and gadgets that I might only us once. This has lead to some purging, thus creating space, of books, clothes, gadgets, tools, technology that I don’t use or need. Some was donated, some shared, some sold. We live in a apartment condo (built on brownscape) and so the additional few square feet that was created is appreciated.

5. Independence, interdependence and self sufficiency – we haven’t reaped all the benefits in these categories yet but we are working on it. I get to celebrate every opportunity that I don’t need to surrender to the mediocrity of materialism ( I don’t beat myself up when I play into the game). I like the idea and practice of being in a shred relationship with people I know and people I will never meet. The understanding that we are in this together, even when we don’t acknowledge it is inspiring. Everything that we do to live more sustainably is like that rock which, when thrown into a pond, creates ripples that disperse in all directions.

Some self sufficiency goals are a ways off but every day that we make better choices, we get closer to a garden plot, a beehive, and a solar system.

Make Today Remarkable by becoming more sustainable,
B

I’ve Seen Sunshine and I’ve Seen Rain

Summer sunshine and summer storms each bring a freshness to the landscape and a sense of awe to my heart. After days of clouds and rain, we had an amazing thunderstorm last night that left a sheen on everything that is green as the sun rose this morning. There is humidity that we aren’t used feeling here and as the sun reaches its zenith there is a mugginess bit after just a few days of grey, we are all appreciating the light. Being grateful and expressing gratitude for this small pleasure is heartfelt and heartfilling. I try to be agnostic about the weather but I confess that I feel so much better when the sky is clear and the light casts deep shadows through the trees. There is a peace that sinks in and I can feel it resonating in my head and heart. Thank you for the sunshine that I get to bask in this afternoon.

I try to run, bike or walk regardless of the weather and I have been out during the past wet spell doing all three (I did retreat to a treadmill one time in the past week). But today, I get to ride along the river to my appointments and feel a breeze on my right cheek and sunshine on my left (at least when I am heading east). I am grateful that I have access to such beauty and am able to get out and enjoy it in so many different seasons.

I was able to add a walk in the park this morning, holding hands with my beloved, not so much exercise as reflection and exploration. A second crop of ducklings seem to have hatched (i didn’t know they could have two batches) and the fledglings from the starling, blackbird and flicker nests are winging and feeding and singing their little hearts out. There was evidence of a couple of deer bedding down in the park but this is the first year that we haven’t spotted them feeding and enjoying the sanctuary of the urban park. Maybe they have moved down river to a less populated area. I am thankful that when I meander with my eyes open that I am rewarded with sights and sounds that are unexpected and inspiring. Having an oasis on our doorstep is a blessing that we get to share with grandkids – another thing to be thankful for.

Just thinking about what I am grateful for and acknowledging it here makes me feel better, breathe easier and studies suggest live longer.

Be gregariously grateful today,
B

Gotta Love It

When a plan comes together even if it doesn’t execute the way you expect, you gotta love the guidance that a plan provides. Whether it is a list that helps you accomplish a day’s worth of tasks ora ten year plan like I wrote this morning, it offers some focus even when I know that the world is changing so quickly that what I see from today won’t be the same a year from now.

The plan I created focused on health, relationships, vocation, avocation, fun, and finance. As I wrote I began to fill in some detail as to what it would take to get to that strategic position on July 4 2026 and celebrated a bit the opportunity that is laid in front of me.

There was a focus on sustainability – are their enough resources, is it ecological within my values and does it have enough of a challenge to keep me motivated?

How does community interact with finances and how can we participate in the gift economy more fully. What role do I want to play in the vast relationships I have and can I do that from a distance? Where would the ‘from a distance’ be? Would it be one place or many? How could many happen?

I viewed ten years from now from the vantage point of today so my health plan is a maintenance program of what I am doing and the improvements the past three years have brought.

Part of the plan includes spending more time with people who are important to me so I am going to do that right now.

B

What is Success

When you win an argument, finish a project, or earn a promotion – is this success? If we measure success by momentary and temporary accomplishments will we be fulfilled?

There are consequences to all our action choices. If I succeed in winning an argument with my beloved but it leaves her feeling sad, how can that be positive? My ego is boosted by the win but my relationship is damaged too. If I work 70 hours a week for 6 months to finish an important project but my blood pressure and weight are dangerously high, is that good?

I have proposed that we have at least 7 elements in our life; Health, Fun. Relationships, Projects, Work, Financial, Spiritual. Don’t get caught up on the titles or definitions. The key is to observe how satisfied we are in each area and then noticing what the whole looks like. Most of us would see disharmony; one element high others low. One element dragging down others. One element taking away time, kinetic energy and reources while starving others. I don’t like to think of trying to balance these like a scale but rather seeking to honor each with care and attention. Success in one area is illusory if it comes at a cost in others.

 

There are many resources available to help find a rhythm that is harmonious and that creates success across your life wheel. If coaching is something that you would consider, contact me at bob@remarkablepeople.ca for a free 30 minute session.

 

Make Today Remarkable, by noticing,

B

 

Curiousity

I seem to be a curious sort. I ask lots of questions across a wide range of interests. I read dozens of books simultaneously and finish those that I satisfy my wonder.

Curiosity may have killed the cat (unlikely) but for me (and maybe you) it is the breath of life. Seeking light when there is fog, looking for treasure when the road isn’t clear, being challenged with new ideas keeps us breathing. When we believe that there is nothing new to learn, we begin to wither and life begins to drain away.

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Sitting in front of a predictable TV program or wallowing in some pseudo reality nonsense drains your reserves rather than fills them. Curiosity is the challenge that our desire for learning presents.

Go to your local library and type an interest area into the catalogue search. Pick up 5 or 6 of the titles and flip through them waiting to have your interest piqued. Take a couple home today and read them over the next week. Search out a video or documentary on the subject. If it is part of your learning style, take notes. Check out reference materials and other work by the same author. Take a sidestep and converge on one idea for a couple days and then see how far you can diverge again.

One of the titles I am reading ” The Brain That Changes itself” by Norman Doge M.D. offers some amazing stories of what can happen when we exercise our grey matter and retrain our brain.

Make Today remarkable by getting curious,

 

B

Happiness

Three weeks ago you weren’t ready to hear the secret about happiness but as you have worked through breathe, appreciate, kindness, to useful you are now ready to hear it.

” Happiness, like almost everything, is a choice”. There are days when I find the secret hard to believe and I have been practicing and living it for 10 years. On those days the reminder is important. I can choose to be happy or choose to be miserable. People, circumstances, health, money have nothing to do with the choice. In fact the opposite might be truer. Happy people find themselves surrounded by happy people. Happy people discover all new forms of providence in their circumstances. Happy people are healthier. Happy people have more opportunity to acquire whatever they need through their initiative and efforts.

happiness quote

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on  your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go. ~ Dr Seuss

Past, Present, Future

The past might suck and the future is unknown but we can modify the present simply by being present. We have today and can make the best of each moment.

 

present

 

Henrik Edberg wrote in the Positivity Blog in 2008 ” 7 Awesome Reasons to Be Present, and How to Do It” that greater appreciation and social skills arise from being in the moment (in the conversation).Our creativity and health also improve.

He offers 3 simple steps to practice.

Focus on your breath.

By now, you should be getting really comfortable with breathing exercises and have learned a technique and rhythm that works for you.

Focus on what’s right in front of you.

Or around you. Or on you. Use your senses. Just look at what’s right in front of you right now. Listen to the sounds around you. Feel the fabric of your clothes and focus on how they feel. You can for instance use the summer sun or rain and how it feels on your skin to connect with the present.

Pick up the vibe from present people.

If you know someone that is more present than most people then you can pick his/her vibe of presence (just like you can pick up positivity or enthusiasm from people). If you don’t know someone like that I recommend listening to/watching cds/dvds by Eckhart Tolle like Stillness Speaks or The Flowering of Consciousness. His books work too. But cds/dvds are better than books for picking up someone’s vibe since the biggest part of communication is voice tonality and body language.

Make Today Remarkable, by being present,

B

 

What are You Doing to Improve Your Health

Right now, this moment as you read this post – what are you doing (not considering or thinking about) for your personal healthcare? Nothing? If you aren’t taking action to be healthy then you are taking action to be ill, unwell, unhealthy. There are consequences. I am not suggesting that you need to make radical changes (maybe your doctor should offer that prescription), I am asking you to become aware of your choices. That burrito with mexifries and all the trimmings is a choice (one I have made often) that is fraught with consequences. Walking two flights of stairs instead of taking the elevator has different consequences. We seem to move through our convenient lives oblivious of the ramifications.

I respect and support your freewill and your right to make whatever decision is right for you (leaving me and others unharmed) but you have a responsibility to be aware, acknowledge and accept the results of those decisions (holding me and others blameless).

Our disease management system attempts to absolve us of that responsibility but creating new diseases, procedures, drugs and treatments so that we can pretend we are objects of our health rather than active participants.

Right now, make a healthier choice and celebrate your participation. Try it again in 18 minutes, and again in 42 minutes … maybe all the choices won’t be the best but when they are; recognize that you chose and celebrate.