I am lucky enough to be married to someone for whom random acts of kindness are not something he thinks about. He just jumps right in and has a way about him that always sets everyone at ease. One time we were going into a restaurant and an older gentleman didn’t see the curb and stumbled pretty hard into the street. Everyone, including his family, just looked on in shock. Not my hubby, he rushed right over and helped the guy up. After a few minutes he was cracking jokes and everyone was on their way. Is he kinder than the rest of us who just looked on? Maybe, but I think the biggest difference is he just doesn’t stop to worry that the person will be offended, or that he will be intruding.
I decided recently that I would try to take advantages of opportunities to commit these random acts of kindness when they arose, and not just walk by wondering if I should help. A few days ago I got my first chance. I was coming out of a store just as an employee from the store was struggling to help get some outdoor chairs into an older woman’s car. It was obvious they were not going to fit. I walked by thinking they would probably fit into mine. Immediately I started coming up with reasons why I shouldn’t offer my help to this woman. Then I saw this for the opportunity that it was and marched myself right back and asked if I could follow her home with the chairs in my car. Really this was no big deal. It took less than 10 minutes and solved such a hassle for his poor lady. She was happy and I was happy. Mission accomplished.
While it certainly wasn’t the first time I’ve ever done something nice for someone. It was the first time I did it on purpose, so to speak. I am on the lookout for more opportunities. I recently heard of a cute and easy way to spread some kindness. Take out the phone book and randomly pick out a name. Put some money in a card, whatever is appropriate for you, $1, $5 or maybe $10. Then write a quick note. Something like , “I hope this brings you happiness. The universe is sending good things your way.” DON”T SIGN THE CARD. Put the name and address that you picked on the envelope and send it on its way. How awesome would that be to get in the mail someday?!
My daughter and I went out for Chinese food the other night. This is what she always chooses whenever we have a girls night. This was my fortune.
Naturally, I absolutely love it. My dream that keeps coming back, of course, is my seminars. Even more broadly it is to work with women to push past what they believe is possible for themselves in whatever form that takes. I love having these conversations and the changes I see coming to life all around me.
You know how on the back of your fortune are you lucky numbers and a “Learn Chinese” word? My word was CHAT.
I hope you all were able to enjoy some time with the ones you love this weekend.
“There are two primary choices in life; to accept conditions as they exist, or accept responsibility for changing them.” -Denis Waitley
I realized yesterday that I had changed. It was not anything seemingly earth shattering, but it has made me think. Let me start by saying that for a long time my mantra as I stomped around the house was, “I have to do everything myself.” This was accompanied by lots of loud sighing, mumbled curses and tons of self-pity. Let me paint the picture a bit.
I am the handy one in my house so I am automatically the fix it person when anything breaks. Outside of Cheez-Its and frozen pizza, I am the only one who cooks anything. I do the vast majority of the cleaning, household errands, and child related appointments. I could go on, but it’s really not the point. The point is that I alone was the person who had designed this life.
One day not so very long ago, I decided I didn’t want to play the martyr anymore. It wasn’t a decision I gave a lot of thought to. It was really just something I promised myself I would change and let it go at that. Well… a few weeks ago my husband cleaned out the garage while I relaxed and read a book. Somehow even though I am spending a lot less time cleaning the house is not much worse for wear. The topper was yesterday, while I sat at the computer and did my thing, a professional installer came and put on our new, top of the line and not some low-end piece of crap because what am I a Kennedy, storm door. I feel like a million bucks!
Like I said, it doesn’t seem monumental, but my perspective changed so much. I let go of being miserable and insisting on doing everything myself. Why did I hang on to that for so long? Why would I even choose to do it in the first place? I realized that, at some point in my life, I had decided this was how I could prove I was worth keeping around. What? It was so time for a rewrite.
What kind of crazy ideas have you cooked up? We all have them. I guess they are coping strategies we put together to get us through our lives. Just like you wouldn’t have thrown money into a typewriter business when the world had started buying computers, you are allowed to bail on a pattern of behaviors that do not make sense. It’s your life why not make it the way you want it!
“When I look back on all the worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened.” -Winston Churchill
My daughter spent about 15 minutes last night crying hysterically about how she couldn’t take a shower because it would hurt her sunburn. When I finally snapped that she could take a shower or go to bed, she decided she would risk the pain and take a shower. Naturally she felt so much better after her shower. Refreshed and bouncy she came up to me and reported that her sunburn hadn’t hurt a bit. I bit my tongue, very unlike me, and didn’t tell her she should try not to worry about stuff that hasn’t happened yet.
I try to remind myself that whatever is going to happen, will happen whether I spend time worrying or not. I might as well try to enjoy myself until the poop hits the fan!
“It ain’t no use putting up your umbrella ’till it rains.” -Alice Caldwell Rice
We had a little life lesson in our family yesterday. I took my two kids to the toy store. My son wanted to spend the rest of the money he had on a gift card and my daughter needed to pick a gift for an upcoming birthday party. Eventually everyone found what they were looking for and we headed to the checkout. That’s when my son realized he had lost his gift card.
We searched high and low and it was gone. He was very angry believing that someone had found it and spent the money on it. It was probably very annoying of me, but I told him that is why we must not keep or take things that aren’t ours. We don’t want anyone else to feel the way he was feeling. I felt so bad for him that I bought him the toy and off we went to our last errand.
As we parked in the parking lot, I noticed something on the ground by the car in front of us. “Go check that out. I think that may be a phone,” I told him. Sure enough, he came scooting back holding a cell phone. Both of my kids got very excited thinking that they now had their own real live cell phone to take to school and show their friends. “Wait.” my son said, “God is trying to teach us.”
We called the number marked Dad in the phone and left a message that we would leave it at the store. As we explained the story to the girl at the counter, a man who was waiting in line exclaimed how honest I was to do the right thing. My kids were so proud.
Thank you God for dropping that one right in my lap!
When I was a kid my parents told me, “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.” I’m pretty sure their point was that I could pretty much pick my poison. I could decide to not do what I was told and deal with whatever repercussions that choice brought or I could just suck it up and do what I was told and avoid the punishment.
As I have started trying to use what I want to do as a guide, I have started thinking about that sentence again. “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.” If that’s true, that changes the game entirely doesn’t it. I have been reading Martha Beck’s book Steering By Starlight and guess what she advocates! Shut up and listen for your truth. Do what you want. If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it. True success is only achievable if you are living your true path. Martha tells story after story about people who are living unbelievable lives because they put aside their fear of failure and followed their “North Star”.
I guess I have been doing my own navigating by starlight. Starting my seminars has taught me so much about myself and what I really want in my life. Martha says as this happens you will find synchronicity becomes commonplace. This is what happened as I researched for the next seminar. We will meet on Saturday, June 2nd and the topic will be intuitive painting. We all loved the vision boards so much and wanted to stay creative. I found these videos on You Tube of a woman named Connie Hozvicka doing what she called fearless painting. First of all, I just LOVE her artwork. I checked out the bio on her website and she is running on pure intuition. She went from being miserable painting how she thought she had to, to having her career take off trusting in the painting that she loved. She now runs retreats and has a sold out teacher training starting this Fall. The thing is she is so alive and bursting with genuine happiness, excitement and passion. It’s enough to make you wonder how much happier you might be if you let go of what you “have to do”.
Part of the work I am doing with my life coach is called “taking down your traits” or getting them on a leash. The idea is basically that you get your personality traits from your parents, both the good and the bad. When you break down the traits as they show up in your life you can start to see how some of them are working over time and hurting rather than helping. This process involves giving each trait a name. You also write a paragraph or two, in the voice of each trait, explaining how it shows up in your life. If you are anything like me, you are probably thinking this sounds a little screwy. But, I decided when I signed up for the class that I was in 100%. I wasn’t going to half ass it so I could have an excuse at the end if I wasn’t happy with the results.
One of the traits I am working on taking down is called my “Look Gooder”. This trait has its pluses. Because of this trait I will always try to do my best when anyone is looking. I want to be helpful, smart, resourceful, and intelligent. When this trait runs unchecked it leads to some less attractive behavior. For example, adamant refusal to admit mistakes, belittling of other parties who I feel may see through my facade, and a desperate desire to avoid situations where I feel exposed. Has having this trait ruined my life or made me an intolerable lonely boor? No, I don’t think so. It’s more that I was operating on automatic pilot when I want to be the one driving my life and relationships. When I said I decided to commit fully to this class, I didn’t realize at the time that I was taking my first steps out of my Look Gooder box.
So, not a great time to admit all of that has been running the show inside of my head. But seeing that trait for what it is- a wacky belief system I put together forever ago which I can put in check- gives me such freedom. I can see so much opportunity to let go of the need to be right, and just be. I feel lighter already.
What’s running the show inside your head? Here’s a hint from my life coaching class; what traits do your parents have that drive you crazy? Bingo!!
Accountability can be a real bummer! What a drag to have to do what you said you were going to do, when you said you would do it! What if you aren’t in the mood? What if you don’t feel good, you’re tired, pissed off, or can do it later? How much of what should get done at work or home would actually get done if no one was there to check on us? Think about how hard you probably work to get to that long list of things you have been meaning to do before you host a big party. The reason I bring this up is that I am coming to believe that personal change of any kind is much the same.
I can promise myself that I am going to get in shape, replant the flower bed, keep a gratitude journal, pursue my passion, follow my marketing plan, but if nobody knows…I was reminded of this yesterday when speaking with a friend. I have made my marketing plan for my seminars, (if you have no idea what I am talking about please check out my Brighten Your Light page), and feeling great. She was asking me when the next seminar will be for the first group of graduates. Great, this is in my plan! “Oh, that’s in my marketing plan. I am going to try to have one before the end of school which is June 19th. I know the end of school gets crazy with parties and I am not sure what our topic will be.” Hear me weaseling out already?
When I tell women about my seminars for the first time they are usually on board with the concept, lots of head nodding and smiling. Then I explain that I want to incorporate accountability and sharing your dreams and the party is over. One woman literally looked like she wanted to puke. Seriously people, I know it is really hard, but if you want to change any part of your life, I believe you really have to put it out there. Tell someone you trust to be gentle if that’s what you need. Tell someone you know will tease the hell out of you if that is more motivating. Whatever works for you. Inertia is a powerful force and getting some accountability is a great way to get that ball rolling.
I found another quote today which dovetails beautifully with my last post. This quote is from Tony Robbins:
“Our biggest addiction is problems…We can reduce our life to a description that makes other people feel sorry for us. Or we can expand our life to a dimension that connects and gives to others.”
Is it time for a rewrite?
I found that quote on this site where she has a list of quotes from one of Oprah’s recent specials. I hadn’t thought much about Tony Robbins until recently. I watched a clip somewhere and was hooked to You Tube for a few days. I love anything I can find that shows him interacting with people at his shows. Here is a link to an Anthony Robbins page where you can watch a few short clips. Here is a link to a little more of the guy in the Conquering Overwhelming Loss clip. My favorite is the last one titled Negotiating Conflict. If you have some time check out the whole piece here. This lady is so brave. It is amazing to watch and totally worth the time commitment.
I think what I love the most is how simple he makes things. He doesn’t assign a lot of blame or talk about a process of gradual change. He really pounces on the issue and empowers people to see they don’t have to spend years thinking about changing, they can just do it.
Why we cling so tightly to our problems, stories and histories I don’t really know. I am just realizing we don’t have to and it is so cool!