The Sweet Spot of Risk Taking

 

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Sweet Spot:

The point or area on a bat, club, or racket at which it makes most effective contact with the ball.

-or-

An optimum point or combination of factors or qualities.

 

Leaves, flowers, rain…..baseball…..signs spring is in full bloom. As a teacher, one thing I can also add to the list is squirrelly kids. And, in an elementary school, the squirreliest of all: 5th graders.

Yet, these awkward, clumsy kids are the ones I get most worried about this time of year. Soon we will be sending them on to the unpredictable years of middle school. It seems like everyone cringes a bit when they hear those words…middle school. There’s got to be a reason for that.

Is Risk Good or Bad?

In the last few weeks, I have found myself trying to jam pack my 5th graders’ heads with useful tidbits of advice and encouragement. I want them to be o.k. in this next chapter of their lives. Actually, I want them to be more than o.k. I want them to learn and grow, and make friends who are good, and find things they love to do. I want them most of all to be happy. I don’t think this will be easy for some of them. I hope though, I am wrong.

In one of these conversations recently, I was sharing with them that sometimes they might have to make some choices that are different from their friends. I told them this might be one of the hardest things they have had to do, but also one of the most important things they do. I was casually throwing out phrases like: “Follow your heart,” “Be your own guy,” “Be different,”…..“Take some risks.”

Somewhere in my delivery, one of the boys raised his hand and asked, “Wait…so is risk good or bad?”

He looked at me in this way kids sometimes do and adults rarely do; a look of complete trust that you will know the answer. It’s a lot of pressure when those soulful, believing eyes of children stare you down as you try to explain something simply, that the whole world might still be figuring out.

The truth is, risk is something that I personally have been thinking a lot about lately. And in a simplified synthesis of my thoughts, I’ve realized I need more of it.

But, as I stared back at this boy with the sweet face, hidden in an already tough-guy air, hair below his shoulders, gangly legs in his sagging, skinny jeans, big high-tops, banged up elbows – no doubt from skateboarding, and dark circles below his eyes, which an 11-year-old really shouldn’t have; I realized I had to choose my words carefully.

I decided I needed time with this one. It was too important. So, I said, “Risk is good, but it can be tricky, and it deserves some thought. I want to think about it a little and talk to you more tomorrow.”

I’m pretty sure he actually rolled his eyes at me. Aghhh….I let him down. I did something soooooo…..adult. I could tell he had thought I was better than that. I felt badly. I needed to make sure to follow through and get back to him.

The Sweet Spot of Risk Taking

That night, I really thought about the conversation and the concept of risk. I think the thing that makes it a tricky topic, is risk looks and feels differently for each of us, and it changes throughout our lives.

As adults, it seems like there are endless quotes (some are my favorites even) about taking risks, exploring, getting uncomfortable….there is a general sentiment suggesting that’s where all the good stuff happens, where dreams come true and soul-filling happiness abides….we just have to take more risks.

But for many kids, especially those of the thrill-seeking variety, we (meaning adults in their lives) are constantly trying to curtail a little of the risk taking, or at least put some helmets and padding on it, and channel it away from dangerous behaviors (violence, drugs, etc).

I can understand where this would be very confusing to a young boy.

Some people continue these behaviors into adulthood and are just risk-takers by nature. For some it feels risky to even eat something different for breakfast. Most of us fall somewhere in between. We all have such unique personalities and genes that determines what even feels risky in the first place. It really is not a clearly black or white kind of topic.

Risk is often thought of as breaking out of one’s own status quo, shaking things up, doing things that make you a little uncomfortable, trying new things, or going down a path where the results are unknown. But this can mean something so different for each of us. That’s why it’s often hard to discuss and understand where each person might get stuck or struggle in this area. For me personally, sometimes the biggest risk is committing to something, giving up freedoms….that feels seriously risky!

I’ve started to realize that as I get older, it’s easier to make life comfortable. I know what I like, what makes me happy (Or, what I think does). I have more means and flexibility to craft my life into what I believe I want, and like, and need. There is truly great comfort in the ability to do this.

But, I have also discovered that the things that bring me the most meaning, the most depth, the gooey-life-is-good feeling, are rarely found in the comfort. They’re found in those moments that surprise you and show you something you never knew was possible. They are found in the messy moments when either by choice or circumstance, you got a little derailed and you find yourself heading somewhere you didn’t intend. They are found during the times you realize you are stronger than you thought.

Meaning is found when you have to work hard for something, and you find yourself wanting to work hard. Meaning happens when your days are flying by because you are lost in the living. For me, I have also found great meaning in the moments where I have reluctantly given up some freedoms and connected, and was part of something bigger.

I have to remind myself of this a little more as each year passes, as it becomes a little easier to hang out in our comfort zones…I mean we did work hard to create them!

Now, I’m not knocking comfort. Not at all. Comfort is necessary. It’s an important part of life, it’s where we recharge, reconnect, slow-down and enjoy the beauty of life. Some people live so much in the world of risk-taking that they never get to reap the benefits of those times where life slows its pace, where you can be and breathe. But I have found for myself, I have to be careful to not make comfort the only goal, or the ultimate goal.

I think the key is to find that “sweet spot” of risk taking. That place where it all comes together, and we find out what it feels like to hit it out of the ballpark. We can’t get there by always playing it safe, by always hitting grounders, by doing the thing we already know we can do well. But we also won’t get there by clobbering into every ball thrown our way. We’ll foul out or burn out. While we are working to find that spot, we’re also bound to swing and miss a few too, but we have to risk that in order to find that perfect place of contact, that home-run swing. It’s truly a balance….we each have to find our own unique, individual, sweet spot of risk taking.

So…yup, that’s where I went the next day with my boys back at school. I gave them a 5th grade version of my baseball analogy. I won’t go into my whole speech, and I won’t pretend, by any means, that I had a Dead Poet’s Society Moment, hardly. But I do think they did listen. Maybe, hopefully, they will find a little something there that makes sense.

Truthfully, I think I needed that particular pep talk as much for my own self as for them. I’ve been reflecting a bunch on risk lately, and I definitely need to take a little of my own advice on this one. I will wrap up with the words my little 5th grade buddy left me with after our chat….

“Awww…Ms. Furay’s gettin’ real.”  I guess I better make sure that I do. Sometimes we all need to be reminded of what we already know.

 

 

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A Cerebral Spring Cleaning

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Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. 

-William Morris

 

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in a Sunday afternoon yoga class. Sun was filtering in through the window, and the room felt warm and lazy. Sunday classes always have a different feel, a bit more calm and reflective. The teacher entered, sat down on her mat, and opened a notebook. Then she read:

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

She paused.

Now this is a quote I have heard and appreciated many times before. I actually have considered it when it came to my own home. But sitting on my yoga mat, it felt a little disconnected, removed from this place, this yoga space.

She continued and began to share a story about her grandfather. She adored her grandfather and he was very ill. He was likely coming to the end of his life, and lots of family had been in town during the last couple of weeks to help out and spend time with him. She of course was very sad. But with this influx of relatives, many other feelings and frustrations had also begun to arise. She was angered by petty arguments that had surfaced. She felt herself judging how different people were handling the situation. And she felt guilt; guilt whether she was handling herself appropriately, and guilt when she was carrying on with her life instead of spending time with her grandfather.

She shared that she soon realized her brain was full and spinning with these kinds of thoughts. They were weighing her down and consuming her. Then she told how she had recently found this quote and read the words again…

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

I began to understand where she was heading. She was suggesting that our minds are our “houses,” and the only thoughts that we should let settle there, are those that we believe to be either beautiful or useful.

Oooh…I liked this.

As the class continued, she made reference to this several times. She encouraged us to let go of comparing ourselves to others, or judging our own selves. Noting pain, or how our bodies felt, was useful. Judging those things was not.

This was resonating. Yeah, I really liked this.

I continued to think about it during the rest of my day. By evening, I had decided there was real wisdom to be found in her words, in her comparison. I think I usually do a fairly good job focusing on the positive and happy in life, but like everyone, sometimes this is harder than other times. I loved this simple way to support those efforts and wanted to give it a try.

A Cerebral Spring Cleaning:

I started to tackle this just like I might a good spring cleaning. I set out to identify my “junk drawers,” my “messy closets,” those thoughts I didn’t want. Then I planned to organize and pitch.

The first part, the identifying, was fairly easy. I know my potential brain clutter. For starters, I can sometimes be prone to overly ruminate. I play conversations and events over, wondering how it was perceived. Should I have said or done something differently? Should I have not said anything at all? And, If I have landed in a spot where I don’t think I made the best choice, I can also sometimes regret — oh the dark monster of regret.

Are these thoughts beautiful? Are these thoughts useful?

Beautiful…definitely not. Useful…that’s where it’s tricky. I do think taking time to note these feelings is useful to grow. But to spin them around repeatedly….definitely NOT useful. Brain clutter, for sure!

I found a few other “thought habits” that were currently cluttering up my brain. Then I was ready for the next part, getting rid of all this junk.

This was where things got tougher.

What was I going to do with these thoughts that didn’t fit into my new found motto? The ubiquitous wisdom on such matters is often: Let it go. But letting go often proves much easier in theory than in practice.

Spring cleaning of the mind turned out to be a difficult task. Lessons were not always immediately clear, and thoughts I tried to throw out and not think about, often came right back. In fact, trying not to think about something, seemed to often have the exact opposite effect. I spent a couple of weeks sitting with this dilemma.

An Epiphany…

Then on another Sunday, I found myself driving back from the mountains after a fun and event-filled weekend. I was alone and had a lot of time to think. There is something about alone-time, in a car, that gets the mind wandering and wondering.

My mind covered a lot of territory on that drive. Some wonderful thoughts as I reflected on the weekend spent with people I love, and on life in general…hoping, pondering, appreciating. But, some sad thoughts snuck in too, and some boring, annoying thoughts about the work week to come. Really, the whole gambit of thoughts swirled about.

As I got closer to Denver, the weather warmed up, the sun was shining brightly though my windows. I rolled them down. The air was perfect. It felt wonderful blowing in on my face. It was crisp, full of sunshine, and the smell of living things. Everything felt just right. It was all too good to muck it up by thinking about anything but the lovely thoughts. I turned up my music, way up, and I was just right there…happy and peaceful…driving down a gorgeous mountain road.

It’s not that I stopped thinking. The thoughts were still coming, but they weren’t really landing. They seemed to just flow right on through me; and the ones I didn’t want to think about, just seemed to fly right out the open window. My mind was open and in the moment. The thoughts had all just kind of taken care of themselves.

When I arrived home and got out of my car, I just stood in my driveway for a bit. I wanted to feel the day a little longer. It felt fantastic. It felt like spring.

I walked into my house. It had been closed up for a long weekend and it felt stuffy. I walked over to my windows, pulled open the shade, opened them wide, and let in that beautiful feeling of spring. I sat down on my couch, and I finally had an epiphany.

I had been focusing on the wrong part of spring cleaning. I had been focusing on the organizing and the pitching, trying to figure out what to DO about the unwanted thoughts. But, I didn’t need to DO anything with them. I realized, really the best part of spring cleaning is when all the tidying up is finished, and you throw open the windows letting the sunlight and the fresh air of spring come pouring in, and the old stale air of winter just blows right back out.

All sorts of thoughts come our way in life. Often, they are very useful, and some are truly beautiful. But sometimes they are not. Difficult feelings and thoughts such as worry, confusion, fear, embarrassment, judgement, guilt, or regret, come our way too. Sometimes they won’t visit for a while and sometimes they all can visit at once. But these thoughts aren’t bad, and hard does not always mean negative. They are just byproducts of living, and getting tangled up with others, of taking chances, and of trying. They are byproducts of being human.

So much gets stirred up when you are out there living. Sometimes the bigger and bolder we live, the more vulnerable we are, and the more risks we take, the more these kinds of thoughts can arise.

It’s useful to note them and learn where we can. But, we don’t need to make a place for them. I realize now, I don’t even need to gather them up and throw them away, even that gives them too much attention. Letting go, really kind of means…letting be.

When these thoughts arise, we need to be compassionate with ourselves, feel them and then just open up that window in our mind. Focus instead on all the good-living happening, and when it’s time, they will just blow out on the breeze. They really will, if we stop holding on, if we let them. When we finally do, that’s when we grow.

This will take some continued practice, especially in our harder times and for our stickiest of thought habits. But I like moving in this direction. Thank goodness we have a life time to work on it. The best part is, the better we get at opening those windows and letting go, the more space we will have for the beautiful and the useful.

We will have plenty of room to seek out the thoughts that help us connect, appreciate and learn. We can take in the thoughts that make us happy, inspire and motivate us, the ones that make us think, laugh, empathize, and love….and we can fill up on all that good stuff….what a worthy challenge.

 

Spring…feels like a pretty good time to begin.

 

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We Are Each a Work in Progress and That’s a Very Good Thing

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You are exactly where you are supposed to be.

- Author Unknown

New Year’s Eve. What a love/hate relationship the world has with this day, this evening. Countless movies have taken place with this day woven into twisting plots. Songs have been written about its magic, its potential, its sadness, its silliness. Some love it. Some hate it. Some could care less.

But no matter where you fall on that opinion poll, there is no getting around the fact that one year is ending and another will begin. It’s a reminder that time marches on (seemingly a bit more quickly each year), and life keeps unfolding.

For some, this time of year brings reflections about the past year, and hopes, goals….or even…dare I say the word…resolutions…for the upcoming year. There seem to be as many opinions about resolutions as there are about the holiday itself.

I am one of those people who does the whole package…the reflecting, the hoping, the goal setting, and yes, even the resolutions.

One of the most common counter opinions about resolutions is….people don’t keep them. I’ve felt that before. In the past, I’ve gotten to the end of the year and looked back at my list of “resolutions” realizing I didn’t accomplish some of what I’d hoped, and that can be discouraging.

But in the past few years, my resolutions have started to shift. Sure I still have a few that can be checked off a list. But more of them now have shifted to include things such as filling my days with more of what I love, changes in my actions, changes in thinking: lifestyle changes.

This week as I sat down to write my goals for this upcoming year, I realized many of them were exactly the same as last year. But unlike in the past, there was no discouragement with this realization. I decided it was actually a very good thing. I know, sounds a little counter-intuitive, nothing to cross off or check off; but I’m beginning to think, that might be the way it’s supposed to be. So much of the good, rich stuff of life is often a little more complex, messier. It evolves and changes. You got to roll up your sleeves a bit and dig into those big, beautiful, life-changing goals.

Interestingly, this blog offered me a very tangible presentation of what I have been working on this year; and guess what, there really is nothing on this list meant to be checked off.

My goals this year started with inspiration from the beautiful Holstee Manifesto. I shared some of those early musings in my very first post on this blog, Come Flow with Me. The Manifesto was so inspiring, just so good, I’m sharing it again (Click on it to see the full size.)….

holsteemanifesto

What lovely hopes, goals, even resolutions were shared in this manifesto; not for a year, but for a lifetime.

From there, the goals for my year began to unfold. I have worked to do more of what I love, to consciously look for what I want to see more of in the world, to play more, to be kind, to be present, to travel, to slow down and appreciate my experiences, and to make time for the important things.

Have I accomplished all of these things??  He%& no!!!  (Pardon the expletives.)

I haven’t come anywhere close. But actually, I don’t even wish I had. Then I’d have to retire to the top of some mountain to hide from all the adoring seekers wanting to know…How?? How did you do it??

No, I’ll leave that role for a little old woman, the likes of which are left to storybooks, living at the end of a zig-zagged road, in a tiny house, sitting precariously atop a faraway mountain.

Me, I’ll just keep on truckin’ down here.

I have without a doubt found more success at some of these goals over others. I have certainly made fun a priority this year. I have traveled and prioritized play very well, and boy have I loved it. I am learning to make fewer excuses, and take responsibility for things that I am not accomplishing or happy about. But, I still struggle with staying present, staying in the moment. And man can I still waste time, like nobody’s business. But whether I have made great strides in an area, or I’m sort of just still treading water, all of these things are going onto my list again.

I will be content this next year bumbling through my days as a living, breathing, work in progress, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In this wonderful year of words, one of the best things I heard was:

You are exactly where you are supposed to be.

I am exactly where I am supposed to be. YOU are exactly where you are supposed to be. Sometimes in the great pursuit for growth, or in the sometimes discouraging work of reflection, it is easy to overlook this most important, fundamental, beautiful piece of truth: WE are exactly where we are supposed to be.

So as this year comes to a close, whether you are a reflector and a goal setter, a dreamer and hoper, or if tomorrow is simply just another day – take at least one minute before this year comes to an end, and tell yourself, right now, right here, you are just right.

You are exactly where you need to be.

Happy New Year my friends!

 

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Putz, Putter, Piddle: Who Ate My Time?

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If it’s important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.

- Author Unknown

 

Time.

Precious, fleeting, flying, enigmatic time.

Doesn’t that seem to be the number one excuse we tell ourselves for why things don’t get done….I don’t have enough time.

As much as it is an excuse, sometimes it really does seem like there is not enough time to do all the things you want to do.

But, as my wise brother once said to me, we all have 24 hours every day to do with what we choose. It may not always seem that way, but it really is the truth. We each mix and match a patchwork of minutes and hours, and those become our days.

Yes, life can also deliver many unexpected twists that we may have to work into our plans. But for the most part, on a day to day basis, we really do have a lot of control over these combinations of minutes and hours that we choose.

So then, what exactly does that mean when we get to the end of a day, or a month, or a year and we haven’t accomplished some of those things we had meant to begin?

 

We’ve Been Too Busy to Start Meditating….

This certainly happens to me. Sometimes, with little chores I meant to get done, and sometimes with bigger things I’ve wanted to start.

At the start of this year, I decided I wanted to begin meditating. The benefits of a practice seemed enormous. Plus, it fit right into a larger theme I was tackling for the year of being more present. A close friend of mine had come to the same conclusion and we decided to begin together.

We did a ton of reading on the topic, I reached out to some friends for suggestions on where to begin, and we formulated a plan. We were ready to start meditating.

Fast forward several months (I’m embarrassed to disclose how many), we still had not begun. We were discussing this with another buddy over brunch and we actually uttered the words: “We’ve been too busy to start meditating.”

Those are the kind of words that sound ridiculous as soon as they leave your mouth. Understandably, we were greeted by a giant burst of laughter, and our friend noted that there was a bit of irony in being too busy to meditate. Clearly we were two people who could benefit from some meditation!

Shortly after, we finally made it a priority and did begin meditating. It was a tougher start than I anticipated (another sign that I could benefit from meditation), but then I got to truly LOVE it. It was bringing all sorts of new elements to my life that I was appreciating; I felt committed to continuing.

AAAANNND….then I stopped. And well, I have yet to really begin again.

What happened? Basically, I just hadn’t been able to make the time to stick with it. Yup, there it is….TIME.

“If it’s important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.”

In theory, I completely 100% believe this quote. In fact, I love this quote. But, how can this be? Meditation WAS important to me, yet I was still not getting it done. Here I was dragging out the old excuse of time.

I decided I needed to break this down and really dive into what was happening.

Here is what I came up with: I’ve decided that this “time excuse” that we use and more importantly truly feel, really boils down to TWO fundamental components:

1. Prioritizing Time

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2. Eliminating the ultimate time sucking trio of Putz, Putter and Piddle. Or, more concisely, stop wasting time.

The first part, prioritizing time, lays the groundwork for pretty much everything in our lives. We have to prioritize how we fill our days. It’s important to be deliberate in choosing the things that we feel are most important, and we need to plan and carve out time for those important things. This is a place for many where all the “buts” start to arise. If you feel any “buts” surface as you read these words, note them, but then check them at the door.

Our days are so valuable, we need to make sure that we are filling them up with things that are important and fulfilling. Things that for the most part, make us happy. If the pieces that are filling up the most of our time are not making us fulfilled, it’s probably time to make some changes, maybe not this very minute, but change needs to be in the near future.

These priorities also need to be something we can say out loud and be specific about. If we can’t verbalize what it is we want to be a priority, it’s not going to happen. What are your priorities? What are the things that are most important to you? What do you absolutely want to make time for in your day, in your month, in your life? Tell someone, write it down. That is the first step towards making sure you have time for those priorities.

I did this with meditating. I knew I wanted it to be a priority. I knew this was something I wanted to become part of my lifestyle and was important. So why was I not able to stick with it? Where did all that time I planned on carving out go? It’s not like I picked up karate or knitting in its place.

As much as I want to say I was just too busy, if I’m really, truly honest with myself (which is what we have to do when we want to see change), I really needed to look at exactly how I was spending my time, and more specifically; was I wasting any of it? And that brings us to component number two.

 

Putz, Putter, Piddle…

There are SO many ways to waste time these days, particularly in the world of technology.

It’s easy to decide to quickly check email or Facebook between activities, and all of sudden 30 minutes is sucked up. Or have you ever looked up something on the internet and before you know it, you’re on a fact finding goose chase and an hour is gone?

Personally, I can easily spend an entire evening playing music suggested to me by Genius or perusing around Spotify. We’ve each got our own time munchers. For some people it’s an evening of television, or finding stats for a Fantasy Football League. Maybe you can’t even name your time slurp, you just putter around the house. There are all sorts of different activities that can eat up time if we are not careful.

Don’t get me wrong, none of these things in themselves are all that bad, and in fact many are fun, can help us unwind, and can be even be great additions to our lives. The problem arises when we are not deliberate about the time we give to these activities. They can all be time suckers; and if we are not careful, they can suck time from our priorities. 

This component #2 about wasting time, is the one I personally want to tackle, the one I need to tackle. This is the piece of the “I don’t have enough time” excuse that needs my attention the most. The good news is, this is actually something over which I have a fair amount of control. I just need to become more aware of when it is happening, and get a little more disciplined.

I do believe the above quote. We CAN make time for the things that are important to us. So, no more excuses. I DO have 24 hours in my day, and I’m going to try to be more deliberate about how I spend each and every one of them.

I’m starting small. I’m getting back on the meditation horse, and I am really going to monitor my time-suck activities, even if this means getting out an old-fashioned timer and really watching my time. I’m not giving up any of these things. I’m just going to make sure when I am doing these activities, I am choosing to do them and really become aware of the time I am spending on them.

We’ll see if I can’t finally kick the old ‘not enough time’ excuse for good….wouldn’t that be nice? Hey, you got to start somewhere!

So how about you? What have you been meaning to get accomplished? Have you found yourself using the excuse of not enough time? I’d love to hear your thoughts and what ideas you might have to get time back on our side.

Remember:

If it’s important to you, you will find a way….

 

 

 

 

 

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Finding Comfort in Discomfort

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Find comfort in discomfort. 

-CorePower Yoga Instructor

 

Utkatasana, Chair Pose….

That’s what I was doing when I heard these words:

Find comfort in discomfort.

My yoga class happened to have an instructor who had us hold poses for longer than seemed necessary, and she picked those moments to talk….lots of talking. In fact, several times already in that class, I had wondered if she had lost track of time with all her talking, and had forgotten that she had left us in really uncomfortable poses.

That is exactly what my brain was thinking as my legs were beginning to shake sitting there in chair pose that day. Couldn’t she wait until supine twist, or savasana, or some other pose where I was resting on the floor, to deliver her lengthy messages? Why now?

It would make a better story to share that her advice resonated right there, but that is not the case. In fact, I actually barely processed the words she said at all. I had already escaped into that corner of my brain where I attempt to just tuck away from discomfort. I breathed, and I waited it out. I waited for the discomfort to pass.

That’s often what I do with discomfort. I go to my “happy place” as I call it. I breathe. I tell myself, this will be over soon. I actually have always thought that was a pretty good, healthy way to handle discomfort. Just power through it, and remind myself it ends.

In fairness to this instructor, I had entered the class that day with a busy brain and a tired body. I struggled in class to stay present and keep going. I left though, feeling relaxed, calm and well worked out. And most importantly, though I didn’t realize it at the time, I left with those words.

A Little on Discomfort…

I understand that life is just going to have some discomfort. Especially in the area of exercise and physical goals, I know that some degree of discomfort is necessary for growth and improvement. But, I have never found comfort in discomfort. In fact, the concept really was absolutely foreign to me. I dare say, it seemed silly. That’s why I was a bit surprised that these words kept coming back to me.

This actually does happen to me often, I don’t always realize the importance of words or advice when it is being delivered. Throughout my life, I have often heard my parents’ voices repeating advice in my head much later after it was given….and then you have that moment of dawning, “Ohhh, that’s what they meant!” (Thanks Mom and Dad!).

That’s sort of what happened here. I had my first ‘ah-ha’ kind of thinking about this on a hike. It was a hike I had done many, many times. It has a pretty good incline on the first half, and I decided on that day, I was going to go straight to the top without taking any breaks. I hadn’t done that before. I also aimed to climb it faster than I ever had. So I began, and I began quickly.

A little past half-way, I was getting a good sweat on. My lungs and legs were starting to burn, but surprisingly I didn’t even think about stopping. I knew I could do it. I had nearly done it the week before. I knew I was over half way, and I knew the top would arrive soon. I knew all these things because I had been here before, I had felt this before. That was when those words came into my head again, “Find comfort in discomfort.”

Ah-ha. I had felt this discomfort before and I knew I could handle it. This discomfort was familiar, and because of that, I could find strength there, I could find motivation. I guess I could even say, I could find a little comfort.

(Now I just want to interject here that this all applies to discomfort. Pain is another category entirely. I believe pain, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, is something else. It means something is amiss and often something bigger needs to happen to address it.)

Ok, anyway, on with discomfort. Discomfort, in physical fitness, makes sense. We all know that we are going to have to put in a little work and experience a little discomfort, if we want to see changes, if we want results, if we want to grow. So, it makes sense that my first ‘ah-ha’ came in connection with this more basic level of discomfort.

But I also started to see how this same idea was applicable to discomfort in all areas of life.

We all have triggers – those things that make us uncomfortable, annoyed, stressed, anxious; and when they show up in our lives, they really can come with physical manifestations of discomfort. They are different for each of us.

In the last few weeks I happened to have conversations with many friends about some of these triggers…these moments, situations, or events, that cause discomfort. For some it’s certain people they were going to have to see, or anniversaries of difficult days before, it could be confrontation, or trips to the doctor or dentist, or claustrophobia. Really the list of stress triggers is so varied. What bugs or stresses one person out might be a total breeze for someone else.

But, we all have things (some big, some small) that make us uncomfortable, unhappy or stressed. I started thinking about how powerful it could be if we really could find some comfort or strength in these “other” kinds of moments of discomfort as well.

Imagine how useful it could be if when you find yourself in those moments of discomfort in life, instead of getting stressed or anxious, you could turn the lens a little and look at the situation differently. You could seek comfort. Yes comfort. Find comfort by letting that moment show you how strong you really are. Say to yourself, “I’ve been here before. I know how this feels. I got through it, I’ve got this!”

We can find comfort in recognizing the enormous potential we have to make it through, and be better on the other side of whatever discomfort is thrown our way.

If we could do that, those individual triggers that we each have just wouldn’t carry so much weight, they wouldn’t have so much power.

A Shift in Thinking…

For me, this thinking shift really is a change. First of all, it’s a different way of dealing with things. I’ve started to realize that my method to just escape to my “happy place” really may not always be the best way to do it. Sure, it gets me through a tough experience. It gets me through discomfort. But when I land on the other side, I am not really in any better spot to deal with the next tough moment that may happen to come my way. I’ve missed an opportunity to foster a little strength and comfort so that I am better equipped to handle tough stuff. I don’t want to miss these opportunities. Tough stuff happens. It happens to everyone, and it’s no fun when it does.

But I’m hoping that practicing this, working to find some comfort in discomfort, will make less things seem tough in the first place, and make the rest of it a little more manageable.

Brain, I’m Better Than You Even Know…

So, maybe you want to try this with me? The next time we find ourselves in an experience that makes us feel any kind of stress or anxiety, the next time we feel discomfort, let’s try and hang out there for a minute. I know, it’s kind of a weird idea. But, just like you would if you were in the last few minutes of a run, or you were holding plank position, maybe squeezing in ten more squats, or just about to the top of a hike, give yourself the same little talk you would then. Pour on the gold stars and accolades and let’s tell ourselves how strong we are and how much stronger we can be. Find comfort in this knowledge, find comfort in the discomfort.

We need to remind ourselves that we can DO so much more, HANDLE so much more, and BE so much more than our brains sometimes let us believe.

 

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A Travel Challenge with a Twist: Are You In?

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Once a year, go someplace you have never been before.

-Dalai Lama

Travel is soul food.

It opens your mind and expands your potential for empathy. Travel turns your familiar on its head and makes you re-sort your understandings. It is an invaluable source of wisdom. And, well, it’s just so much fun.

Personally, I crave it. It fuels a part of me that nothing else quite can. Though it is not always easy, I always love it.

I just recently returned from some time in Greece, so I’m emerging from a great big, giant dose of it. I’m sure from all my gushing travel praise, it’s pretty clear I’m a bit hopped up on its goodness, a travel high if you will. I feel like yelling from rooftops, “Everybody pack your bags! See the world!” I have no doubt what I’d do if I won the lottery.

A Reflection on Travel…

As I have had some time home this week, I have been reflecting on why I find these travel experiences so enjoyable and recharging. Along with all the pluses above, I think when we are traveling we embody that key life principal for which so many of us strive: we are totally present.

You kind of have to be, right? There’s all this novelty you have to navigate through. You can’t just rely on the autopilot we often turn to in our days at home. Whether it’s finding yourself on maps, planning the course of your day, or just wandering around soaking up the experiences, travel keeps you in the moment without a lot of work.

One of my very favorite parts of traveling, is when I feel myself just totally sink in to an experience. I can’t quite explain it in any other way than just sinking in. I had many of these “sinking-in” kinds of moments in Greece. But, one in particular stands out to me:

As we were walking through the winding, cobblestone walkways of Santorini, we passed many charming little places to grab a bite to eat. Often as we passed, someone was outside beckoning passerbyers to enter. Somehow we paused in front of one particular place as a very persistent, though totally charming man tried to convince us that this was where we needed to be. It was two levels of tables hovering over the beautiful view of the caldera. The view alone may have pulled us in, but we give full credit to Edgar, the one man show at the cafe.

There were a handful of other patrons there who had been watching the exchange with chuckles, and shared that they too were here because they had fallen for Edgar’s charming persuasion. Within moments of sitting down, I could feel myself begin to sink. I knew I could stay here a while. We were soon filled with saganaki, crepes, cocktails, stunning vistas, and great conversation. We chatted with the fellow patrons and most interestingly of all, we continued getting to know our new Greek friend, Edgar. Sink, sink, sink….

What a feeling of full contentment to be submerged in a moment, not thinking of being anywhere else, not even thinking of anything else….just present.

These are the moments that seem a little extra abundant in travel, maybe it’s because you truly have no where else to be. But, what a wonderful thing to take time to ask questions and to learn so much about all the people who share your space, or to sit without even speaking and just take in the view, to just sink in…no where else to be.

We did end up spending much of the afternoon right there. It was wonderful. The ocean breeze was calming and the food was delicious. We learned all sorts of things about Edgar’s life in Greece, his family and his plans, and he learned a lot about us. Several hours into full sink mode, I commented to Edgar that he was so lucky to look out on this view every day, what a treat. He replied by saying he really wanted to be in the United States. I told him he was crazy to want to leave this. He told me he would trade with me right then; I could stay here and he would go back and teach my students in the U.S. Pure silliness, I thought.

But, when I got home, those words of Edgar’s kept playing again in my mind. Here was a man living in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and he wanted to be here in the U.S. I started to think, maybe the way I could keep my travel high a little longer was to take some time to look at my own “backyard” with Edgar’s eyes, with traveler’s eyes.

The Dalai Lama says,

Once a year, go some place you have never been.

I agree with this and say do so even more if you can. And I think to really grow, it is good to sometimes cast that travel net wide, to really reach and include experiences that will open your mind and grow your perspective. But I think in between big travel adventures, we can tap into more of the benefits of travel by also being a traveler right at home, right in our own backyards.

My Backyard Travel Challenge

I decided to challenge myself to embrace this concept and see if it works. At least once a month, I am going to be a Backyard Traveler. I am going to go somewhere in my own city or state that I have never been. Really, I have some pretty good options here in Colorado.

Maybe I’ll have an overnight in a mountain town I haven’t visited yet, or visit a new hot springs. Perhaps, I’ll tour a brewery or visit a museum. I could just take a road trip to a nearby town and have dinner, or maybe just spend the morning in a different neighborhood’s coffee shop….really the list of possibilities is endless.

But this is the important part; when I get there, I’m going to put on my “travel-colored-glasses” and look at the world as a traveler. I am going to slow down. I’m going to chat with the people I meet and ask them questions. I’m going to take pictures, and stare, and sit with nowhere else to be. I’m going to sink in….

So, who’s in?

August starts in just a few days. Join me in this challenge! Where will your first destination be? Brainstorm a list…a hometown bucket list. Pick a place, pick a date, grab a buddy or just go on your own, and get started. Just think, somewhere across the ocean, you may very well be the envy of a man staring out into the Aegean Sea. Soak it up and sink in!

 

 

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Cartwheels and Cannonballs: 10 Reasons to Play More!

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

-George Barnard Shaw

 

I have decided to prioritize play.

it’s just too good, too important, too fun, not to make play a priority.

I’m not going to wait for all my other to-do items to get finished first. I’m going to put play right there at the top with a big box next to it, ready to be checked!

Play is the good stuff and the good stuff really should become the priority. Life just feels better, IS better when there is more good stuff.

Here are TEN reasons why you should join me and prioritize play:

 

1. Play builds confidence for risk taking.

Think about it…when you are playing, you reach a little farther than you normally do.  You push yourself, you climb a little higher, you leap off things, you go a little faster. You put aside your fears and you go for the things you may not normally go for. You do this because you are having fun! Think of all the pictures floating around of the Tough Mudder, and the Rugged Maniac, and all those other crazy obstacle races. This is all just big-kid play!

2. It allows you to release aggressions.

Seriously, a pillow fight, making a big splash, running hard, tagging someone out, nailing someone in the tush with a water balloon. (Ha! You know it’s fun.) It releases the pent up icky stuff we sometimes carry around with us, and we feel better, calmer, happier when we are finished.

3. Playing helps us be flexible and stay chill when things go wrong.

When we play, things never go exactly how we think. We always have to shift and change our course. It’s a little unpredictable, but that’s why it is fun. We learn to go with the flow and just enjoy what’s happening right there, right in front of us.

We learn clothes are just clothes, and can be washed. Skinned knees heal and making mistakes really isn’t a big deal. You just try again.

4. Play reduces stress.

5. Play builds intrinsic motivation.

When we play, we do things because we want to. Play has its own natural reward. We work harder because there is often a goal we want to meet, or you’re part of a team, or just because it’s fun.  We put in extra effort because we WANT to, not because we HAVE to, or are getting PAID to. This is a good feeling to have, and a good feeling to remember. Feeling this kind of motivation and remembering what it feels like, can act as a compass in other parts of our lives.

6. Play keeps us young.

Just as George Barnard Shaw said:

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

This is a youth tonic I can get my brain around. More play!

7. Play allows us to simultaneously relax and concentrate.

Two great skills to cultivate!

8. Play builds relationships.

We all know this is true; we just feel closer to people when we have fun and laugh with them. And, our relationships with others bring so much happiness to our lives. These relationships are where the true meaning of living lies.

9. Play improves our ability to persevere.

With play, when we fall down, we get up and try again, and we keep trying again and again because it’s fun. We rethink things, tweak our ideas, strategies and plans. We don’t give up, we persevere in play.

10. Play just feels good.

It feels good to move and laugh. It feels good to not worry about getting wet or dirty, or looking a little silly. It feels good to just let go.

 

Here is your chance…reevaluate today’s to-do list. Where can you add some play?

When we look back fondly remembering our days, no one ever says, “Wow, I am so impressed that I always picked my dry-cleaning up on time,’ or “Man, was my life more meaningful because I kept my oil changes up.” Though they are necessary, errands and chores are just errands and chores, and you rarely remember all the errands and chores you did. We cherish the connections we made with others, the times we laughed, the times we had fun, the times we played.

 

So….

 

Get Wet.

 

Get Muddy.

 

Jump in a puddle.

 

Run through sprinklers.

 

Climb…climb a tree, a rope, a fence, a mountain…just climb.

 

Dive into the water,

 

Then do summersaults why you’re there.

 

Write your name in sparklers.

 

Run as fast as you can.

 

Race.

 

Roll down a hill.

 

Play basketball, volleyball, badmitten or kickball, play tag…anything, but get off the sidelines, stand-up, join!

 

Play a board game.

 

Play catch.

 

Get in a water fight.

 

Skip,

 

Skip higher.

 

Pretend with children.

 

Paint a picture, sketch, build, create.

 

Do a cartwheel, do a cannonball.

 

Be silly, be spontaneous, have fun, PLAY!

 

 

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Do You Believe in Magic?

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Magic:

A supernatural charm, spell, or other method used to have power over natural forces.

 

Hocus pocus, abracadabra….presto!

 

Lately, I have been longing for magic….to be magical.

Perhaps it is because I have been reading A Discovery of Witches, I do tend to get a little wrapped up with the characters I read about. When I read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, oh I wished to be Lisbeth Salander, armed with a photographic memory, a fearless edge and a vigilante spirit. With my reading about witches, I have been feeling the draw towards one particular witch, Diana Bishop; her DNA carries the most powerful of witchly potential….both magic and witchcraft…oh the possibilities.

Or perhaps, I have been feeling the longing for magic because I would have loved that gift to use in my life in the last couple of months.

I actually even started to feel a bit frustrated that I couldn’t just wield a spell and bring a little magic into play.

But then something, well…magical, started to happen…

When I really began to think about it, I realized that actually there is pretty amazing magic everywhere. There is magic in each of us. Even though we all are just biological organisms that can be explained in terms of DNA, cells and chromosomes, when it all comes together, and the living starts – magic is abundant.

Magic is loving and being loved, even when you aren’t feeling lovable.

Magic is being able to belly laugh and play, even in the middle of sadness.

Magic is joy.

Magic is feeling connected.

Magic is feeling enormous pride and excitement for someone else’s accomplishments and happiness.

Magic is empathy and letting others know you understand how they feel.

Magic is being understood.

Magic is when people who don’t even know each other lend a helping hand.

Magic is the quiet serenity you feel in nature.

Magic is the sigh, the release of just letting go.

And, one of the most amazing, unexplainable things of all…HOPE - Hoping for whatever lies in our hearts, our own individual longings and dreams, and believing it can come true. Hope, now that must be magic. 

Magic is in each of us; it is everywhere. 

 

I guess it’s just as Glinda the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz told Dorothy,

You had the power all along, my dear.

 

 

 

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Who Is Your Brain’s Worst Enemy?

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The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.

-Stephen Hawking

Knowledge is a funny thing. It is not easily defined, and frankly I’m not even sure its definition needs to be captured and placed within boundaries. There are so many varieties of it. The knowledge that one individual values may not be of value to another. Many varieties that were once very much valued, are now less valued with the instant access of facts and information at our fingertips, thanks to all of the huge gains in technology in the last few decades. Some kinds of knowledge can become antiquated and replaced by new knowledge, and some types of knowledge can never be replaced.

However, there is one thing about knowledge that I am sure; the quest for knowledge of any variety, must be valued. No…really, it needs to be even more than just valued; it needs to be prioritized and supported.

Knowledge is powerful. The more you have the better.

Personally, I sometimes get frustrated that I can’t be wiser faster. I get impatient for more knowledge, and sometimes I become a little daunted by all there is I want to learn. When I am most sulky about it, I get annoyed that I have to do things like work, and can’t just be an eternal student, or spend my days reading books and traveling, talking to wise people in different corners of the globe. But there is something that I have to regularly remind myself; even if I won the lotto tomorrow, and could take up a life of this one sole pursuit, I still (Obviously!!!) would never know everything. Duh…right??

So, here is where it gets to the really important stuff….we need the knowledge of others.

Tapping into the brains of all the people with whom we cohabit this planet, allows us to capitalize on the most possible knowledge. AND, here’s another crazy thing; sharing our knowledge doesn’t make us one bit less knowledgeable. In fact, sharing knowledge often deepens it. You often acquire a greater understanding of a concept when you have to explain it to others.

So here we have it – clearly, the key for us each to have the utmost possible knowledge is to create an environment ideal for the flow of knowledge, back and forth…sharing. But somehow, this just isn’t often the way it always goes.

Knowledge Has Some Enemies

Knowledge has some enemies ready to stop it in its tracks….ego, condescension, fear, pride…to name a few.

Stehpen Hawking proposes that the illusion of knowledge is its greatest enemy.

What does this mean? Perhaps some may interpret this as those people we may encounter who think they know a lot about something, but really don’t. The ones that exude confidence, but really they don’t have a lot to back it up. Though these types of individuals can certainly cause some headaches; I don’t think they are the worst knowledge impeders. It has been my experience that impostors usually get sniffed out. Maybe not right away, and maybe not even to their faces, but people begin to learn when someone is just feigning knowledge.

I think this is more speaking to something larger. I think it something for which each of us can easily be guilty, and something for which all of us need to take responsibility. It is the product of a learning environment that so easily gets created in our society; one where many people become afraid to show they don’t know or understand something. People become afraid to ask questions, to ask for explanations. We can become our brain’s worst enemy when we pretend we understand and we really don’t.

Where does this come from?

Something I have always most loved about working with young children is their questioning. Their curiosity drives strings of often never-ending questions. They are bursting with them. They are, for the most part, fearless about asking…asking anything.

This year however, I have begun to work more with 4th graders. It still seems they are so young and innocent, but I am beginning to see a sad shift in the question asking arena. They ask fewer questions.

I still see the question marks form in their expressions and the curiosity still spreads across their faces and their gestures, but more and more of the children at this age are beginning to stay quiet. The funny thing is they will often come and ask me more questions privately. I can only infer that the biggest thing deterring them from asking in our group, is the fear of seeming like they don’t know, the fear of what others will think of them.

Doesn’t this make you sad when you hear the stories of these 4th graders? Nine and ten year olds, in some cases, already becoming scared to ask questions because they fear people will look down on them. I also see this same thing when I have done staff development with teachers, adults. This can become a vicious cycle because once one pretends they know something, it becomes increasingly difficult to ask questions. This is a culture that obviously starts young and we have to change it.

Why are we afraid to show we don’t understand? 

Maybe it is time; perhaps people just don’t want to take up time asking questions. Maybe it is truly the fear that others will be judgmental towards lack of knowledge. Maybe some save it for the safer parts of their lives where it’s ok to not know. Whatever the reason, mini-cultures like this exist within all parts of our lives, and they are truly knowledge’s biggest enemy.

Remember, we need each other’s knowledge…there is just too much to learn to do this on our own. So, it’s imperative that we work to tackle this enemy.

So what do we do to make this cultural shift?

The answer is seemingly easy – WE, as a collective, must ask and answer questions. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, does it? But clearly it is. We can only begin with ourselves. To do this we have to be brave and we have to be patient.

The good news is bravery and patience will be rewarded with knowledge….lots of it!

When we don’t know something or don’t understand, we need to seek out the answers. That might mean asking someone to share their knowledge, or slow down and explain something again. We have to be brave enough to seek knowledge over fearing what other think. We need to make it ok to say, “I don’t get it.”

Maybe you already do this. Maybe your challenge is to continue doing this even when others look annoyed at your question asking. Or if you’re not quite ready for that, seek out the answer from others you trust or alternate sources. But the bottom line is: We have to stop putting on the illusion of knowledge. We must go after and get the real deal!

And on the flip side, when someone is brave and comes to us for our knowledge, or asks a question of clarification: Share, Share, Share! No more knowledge hoarding. No more impatient brush offs of answers, or sighing because that has been answered 100 times already. We need to honor knowledge seekers.

This will make us fine tune our own understandings, and it will begin to build an environment for sharing; and within that space knowledge can flourish. Plus, let’s face it, this is just better for everyone.

To change a culture, it has to begin small. Many places like around kitchen tables, or maybe dinners with friends, this is already happening. Maybe not, but hopefully we all know at least some place where it feels safe to ask and learn. Let’s make more of those places. Let’s let them trickle over into any space or relationship where it doesn’t already exist, whether it be work places, with friends or acquaintances, or any other corner of our lives.

Let’s make the the world more like our dinner tables. Knowledge’s enemies are not welcome here!  Our brains work best together.

 

 Photo Credit: Xirien

 

**Speaking of KNOWLEDGE….Stay tuned for a new section of this blog called TO LEARN. It will be some random musings, ponderings and information about words I’ve stumbled upon and wanted to share.

If you would like to get the latest Fresh Squeezed Words sent right to your email, you can subscribe on any page. Or, if you know anyone else who might be interested in any of the posts, please share by simply clicking on the envelope right below each post, or share on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest by clicking the social sharing buttons.

Also, please check out Fresh Squeezed Words on Facebook. There is a direct link in the top corner of each page. I’ll be sharing additional inspiring words and articles, and would love to have you join the community!

 

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Kindness: Pass it On

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Kindness:

Kindness is the act or the state of being kind, being marked by good and charitable behavior, pleasant disposition, and concern for others. 

Recently, I was running late for work. Running late, I have discovered, can make me a little less of all sorts of things: less patient, less calm, and to my chagrin….sometimes even a little less kind.

Now any smart person running late for work, would go straight there and not make a side stop to say….somewhere….like….Starbucks. But, I am not always a smart person. My backwards brain reasoned that in fact I needed a Starbucks more than ever, since I had woken up late, was tired and rushing, and frankly a little grumpy.

So, I headed to Starbucks. The Starbucks in my neighborhood falls into the ultra lazy variety that includes a drive-thru. As I pulled up, I quickly evaluated the line, and played the little drive-thru game of odds….to drive thru or go inside? It was a close call, and I went with the drive-thru.

Seemingly, I chose poorly.

It took forever. I started to play through scenarios that could have happened for this kind of delay….I mean MINUTES passed! (Oh how spoiled we’ve gotten). Obviously, this was all exacerbated by my already looming lateness, that was getting later by the moment. I was getting down right fired up, my clothing was even starting to feel too tight. My thoughts were not kind. I am not proud of my level of irritation.

When I finally made it to the window, in an absolutely impatient gesture, I had my arm and my money out the window before I even came to a stop. I didn’t even wait for the woman to say hello. With a frozen grin attempting to mask my irritation, I just handed her my money.

But, she stopped me. She apologized profusely for the delay, and said the drink was taken care of. I thought it was because of the hold up, but she went on to say that the lady a few cars up had bought drinks for the whole line. She had apparently had a rotten day the day before, and wanted to begin this day on a good, new note. The barista had told me that the lady had gone on to share the long, detailed description of her day, which had begun the delay. Then she said something that snapped me out of my impatient grumpiness.

She said, “When I looked this lady in the eyes, I knew today, she really, really needed someone to listen. She needed to be heard. Thank you so much for your patience and your understanding.”

Ohhh….if she only knew….thank goodness think bubbles weren’t hovering above my head as I was seething in line, just moments before. Boy did I feel crummy. Why had I gotten so worked up over something so silly, and to be honest, something that was really my own fault? I was the one running late.

Kindness 

As I drove away, I kept thinking about what this woman had said….she just needed someone to listen…she needed to be heard. I thought how this barista in the middle of a morning rush at Starbucks, ignored a growing line, chanced disgruntled customers, and chose kindness. She gave someone, a stranger even, exactly what they most needed at that moment. It wasn’t a whole bunch of money, or a big favor, or a huge heroic action. It was just slowing down and listening. Connecting. And I thought, how nice this woman was in return. She wanted to do something for others, to begin her day with kindness.

What if we all just did this a little more? Can you imagine if we all slowed down, even a little, and really paid attention to what those around us were needing? What if we thought not just how a situation was impacting our own selves, but how it was impacting others too? What if we all just worked a little harder to make others feel heard, to make each other feel like we aren’t alone as we navigate through our days?

Maybe this is not even something you or I need. But someone, somewhere needs this little extra attention, and one day it just might be you or me. It just seems maybe it wouldn’t hurt at all if we all worked to share a little more kindness with those we meet along the way.

Kindness Can Look Many Different Ways

Kindness comes in all kinds of forms. This week, in the aftermath of the tragedy at the Boston Marathon, stories of kindness emerged that were accompanied by heroism and bravery. And though those acts couldn’t take away the painful parts of the tragedy, they somehow did provide reassurance of the goodness in humankind. Sometimes after seeing such horrible displays of the human’s potential for violence, as we did this week, we all can use a little reassurance of the goodness. It truly was heartening to hear the stories of kindness.

But there are also moments of kindness, like the barista and the coffee lady, that are much more quiet; where one human being is just there for another to show them they are not alone.

Kindness: Pass it On

Kindness is about being there, whatever it looks like, when you are needed. Kindness ultimately is about connecting; connecting not only with our friends, families and loved ones, but with each person we meet, as human beings.

It’s about acknowledging that we need each other, and that life is better if we look out for each other, and work to make the world a little better, a little easier for one another. It’s realizing that sometimes life can be tough and we can all use a little gentleness. It’s slowing down and listening to what somebody else might need right then, right at that moment.

After the sad events of this week, I am reminded more than ever how important it is that we are kind to one another and how important kindness of any variety is. We all walk around in this world carrying our lives with us just below the surface of our ‘Hellos’ and ‘How are yous?’ Those lives come in all shapes and sizes and weights. They have varying degrees of happiness and sadness, excitement or anger. And, they are always changing. We don’t always know what someone else is going through, and how much showing just a little kindness could truly mean.

Kindness is contagious. Its supply is endless and its potential is infinite.

Kindness….let’s pass it on.

 

 

Related Posts: How can you find more kindness in the world? Look for it. Check out some ideas from I Don’t Want to Hear My Corduroy Pants.

 

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