Hello to all my fans out there! Click on this 60 Day Holiday Party (below) given by me and the rest of the Mod Squad Coaching team – Roxanna and Carrie! I think you will love it!
Most of us love the autumn because we are back into a routine, the weather is nice and cool, the colors outside are festive and cheerful, and we might even enjoy some fall activities. One to the things I enjoyed as a child were the ‘Grange Suppers’ that would be served down the road at the Farmer’s Grange Hall. It was walking distance from our home in Upstate NY, and it was one place my parents could take us (a family of 8) all out for dinner without breaking the bank. These sweet little ladies would serve us family-style roast beef with gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans and apple and pumpkin pies for dessert. It would usually be a perfect fall day with the giant maple trees in all of their glorious spender up against a clear blue sky as they huddled around the white clapboard grange building, itself a blast from the past. What a sight!
Nothing compared to that feeling of eating good home-cooked food with friends and family on a perfect fall day. No one was worried about thier waistline, their bank account or their feats of accomplishment. There we were just neighbors sharing a meal on a beautiful fall day. It was enough of a memory that just thinking about it makes me smile.
So, stop worrying about all that other stuff. Let’s be thankful for all the gifts that God has given us, yes I said God. You don’t have to belive in Him, but I can’t do anything but believe. There is just too much beauty around for me to ignore Him. Have a beautiful day, and take a look outside while it is still autumn. It won’t last forever!
photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
In my last blog, I had to trim back my very healthy bougainvillea because it was infested with the dreaded Virginia Creeper. One of the other things I noticed about it was that it was becoming so gnarly that it was turning into a wound up ball of prickly branches. It appeared to be turning in on itself. That got me to thinking about how easy it is for me, even when I am trying to do my very best, to get caught up in my own weeds and focus too much on the immediate, or on my own program.
Has that ever happened to you? You know, you’re going along working on a project and someone inevitably needs to discuss something with you or get you to do something ‘right now’. It always feels like such an intrusion. “Yes, as soon as I finish this”, is my typical answer.
It is my job to help my clients get to their finish lines with as few distractions as possible. So what I am going to say next may come as a surprise: Look at the needs of others as possible adventures for yourself. Some new insight might come along as you assist your co-worker for a few minutes even though you really need to get that project finished.
You will like yourself a lot more if you put others first. You may not get everything done to perfection or in record time, but you will have put your mind at ease because you helped someone when they needed you most. Perhaps you will even find a fresh perspective when you go back to working on your own project. It will also make you the kind of person others will appreciate and love to work with.
And while we are on the subject, there is another aspect of growing out of ourselves to consider. The most interesting and enjoyable people are those who are interested… in others, in ideas, in learning. It is the uninterested who are challenging to be around, precisely because that seem to have grown into themselves. This was perfectly depicted in the film The Aviator with Leonardo DiCaprio’s brilliant performance as the reclusive and very-long fingernailed Howard Hughes (just thinking of those nails gives me the willies). After all he had accomplished, I suppose there was nothing left of interest to him.
So, instead of my misbehaving bougainvillea, think of yourself as a budding rosebush, ever fresh, ever fragrant, enjoying whatever the new day brings, and don’t be afraid to present a bloom to a friend in need.
So my last post was on weeds and how they have to be fed and left to their own devices to keep coming up and getting in our way. I noticed something else this weekend while out weeding. Some of the healthiest, most vibrant weeds were those which could disguise themselves as one of my flowering plants. Looking as closely as I could without the assistance of reading glasses, I found the insidious Virginia Creeper right alongside my bougainvillea. The deep green leaves of each plant helped one to embed within the other. Not any more! I actually talk to my plants while trying to protect them and let them know that they are expected to do their part. As painful as it might have been for both of us, I had to prune parts of the bougainvillea in order to get to where the Virginia Creeper was surreptitiously making its way in between the branches.
So, what does this have to do with creating good habits, especially those of the mind? Sometimes our thoughts distract us, get us off on a tangent, or redirect us away from feeding ourselves good food that will yield good results. For example, you start to work on a project and your mind wanders back to that conversation you had a with a family member and how she was wrong and you were right and how dare she say things like that. Playing that tape all over again just gets you away from what you really want to be doing and interrupts your peace of mind, not to mention it just gets you thinking negatively about someone who really may need love and understanding. Another example is when we sometimes confuse activity for productivity and think to ourselves, “As long as I am busy doing something, it is better than doing nothing”. But sometimes that activity is just wearing you out and has no other point.
Next time you are out weeding your garden either of flowers or of the mind, be on the lookout for those sinister ‘look-alikes’. What weeds are getting into your gardens? Let’s talk about it. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or just leave a comment below! As for me, I am going to keep talking to my plants as it seems to be yielding a lovely return on my investment.
So, the second part of this ‘Habits as Weeds’ idea is that habits, like weeds, have a life source, and sometimes a little goes a long way. Take, for instance, today. It rained heavily last night, and this morning the weeds in my garden were as perky as ever. I try to get out there at least three times a week to keep them at bay, but after a good solid rain, they come back with a vengeance. And, if you remember from my last blog, their roots tend to be quite shallow, so they can be gotten rid of quite easily.
So too do habits require a life source, especially the ones that take us away from what we really want to accomplish. For example, today I needed to write another blog post, but I started thinking of all the other things I could be doing instead: writing thank you notes, catching up on radio show preparation, calling my mother, doing some laundry, dusting, etc. You name it. It’s that little voice inside my head that says, “You really need to do this, and this and this…” The list is endless. But I have to tell that little voice, “No, no, no! I really need to write this blog, so thanks for the reminder, but back off, sister!”
Like the rain which gives life to my weeds, the little voice isn’t a bad thing, but at the wrong time it can keep gumming up my garden of thought. It is so easy to become distracted, whether it is the ill-timed phone call from a neighbor who wants you to come over to see his birds-of-paradise or the continuous tape we play inside our heads reminding us of all the other stuff we need to be doing.
Most people are best doing one thing at a time and really focusing fully on that. So, next time you become distracted from what really needs to be done, just tell yourself, “Let me finish this first”. Those other things will be tended to in due time. Happy weeding!
You can learn a lot from weeding your garden. Today I want to address how habits are like weeds in the garden of the mind. Did you know that your mind has a life? It’s called the ‘Life of the Mind’, and it only yields what you do to cultivate it.
Let’s talk about how weeds get there: neglect and a life source.
When we neglect some aspect of our life, it goes ‘to the dogs’ or to ‘rack and ruin’ if you like. It gets out of control. One thing it doesn’t do is stay put or become static. It devolves, degenerates or decomposes.
Antidote: Do something about it. Just start somewhere, even if it means you are only going to tackle one corner of the garden, one behavior, or one destructive stream of thinking. Weeds tend to be in shallow ground and can come up easily if we just use our hands and give a little tug.
What part of your life seems to be on auto-pilot but is, in truth, falling apart? What is one thing today, right now even, that you can do about it? Check back in a couple of days when I address the life source aspect of growing weeds. See you soon!
One thing I like about the beginning of the “School Year” is that it’s kind of another chance at those New Year’s Resolutions. It’s a ‘Start Over’ or a ReSet! time before the calendar year is entirely up. This is one reason I am personally against a year-round school approach to education.
I don’t know about you, but I always appreciated that down time to do a little mental inventory, examine my priorities, re-group and perhaps change direction. As a former teacher I always appreciated the couple of months off to catch my breath, so to speak. The couple of times when I alternated between teaching and administration and forwent the summer vacation, I burned out much more quickly. You may have more stamina, but I really needed that break.
So if you are coming back from a little R&R time spent with the family, at the camp, the beach, or wherever you were able to get away to, give yourself permission to put a blank page before you and think about those things you might like to try in this season of your life. Think about making this new ‘School Year’ more satisfying.
Personally, I had to take some busying activities off of my schedule so that I could concentrate on the things that were going forward and yielding results. What’s it going to be for you? Drop me a note at Karen@karenjhornsby.com. In the words of a very wise saint, ‘Begin Again!’
Do you ever feel overwhelmed with having so much to do with so little time? I sure do!
I have a multitude of interests and commitments, and I also am very much interested in spending time with people, particularly these days when face time seems to be becoming a thing of the past. We spend a great deal of time going from here to there, running errands, picking up dropping off, etc. I also don’t like to put people off because I am too busy to say “hello” or listen for a few moments. So, how do I get all the things on my ‘to do’ list done and still make time for people who come my way? Is it possible to change this pace or have a sense of control over it? I think so.
When this overwhelming sensation starts to take over, I do what my coach told me. He simply said, “You gotta start somewhere!” So, I start somewhere. What helps me is making a quick weekly list instead of (and sometimes in addition to) a daily list. If I put all the major biggies (things that NEED to be done by Friday) on the list and try to do as many of them as early in the week as possible (before that end-of-the-week momentum thing happens). Then I usually find that just about all the important things get done, and, as a reward, I have time for the unexpected event or person who comes my way. Some things on my ‘to do’ list should get done but don’t have to get done on Monday if a friend needs to talk or a neighbor needs a visit or my husband need me to run an unexpected errand. Once I look at my list and get the ball rolling by ‘starting somewhere’ it all seems to work out, and, by Friday, all the important things get done and some of the not-so-important things can wait till next week. After all, in the end, making time for each other is what really matters.
How about you? What kind of system do you use to keep yourself from that anxious feeling of never doing enough or never cleaning out your In-box? Let me know at email@example.com.
In the first Shrek film that came out several years ago (a misunderstood ogre is kicked out of his home and forced to set out on a dangerous journey) there is a humorous scene where Lord Farquad, the antagonist, is given the choice to pick from three princesses, one of whom is slated to become his bride. His cerebrally challenged henchmen encourage him to choose the one (the princess behind ‘door number 3′) who will require the greatest obstacles to be overcome. He concurs and chooses the most difficult path.
Sometimes what appears to be the most challenging path can often bring us greater joy than the easier path in life, and it doesn’t necessarily always turn out to be the most challenging but perhaps the ‘one less traveled by’ as the poet Robert Frost so aptly put it in his iconic poem, The Road Not Taken.
Today I would like to leave you with 3 thoughts to mull over:
1. Mind over matter – purposely fill your mind with something good today. Check out my Beautiful Minds tab for some interesting authors past and present.
2. My cottage in the woods – We are happiest when we are around the people and places we love. Spend some time this week with someone you love and/or in one of those places. It might even be at home!
3. You are the Gardener – be the tender, the steward of your own garden – let in the people and ideas you want to be part of you and keep the detrimental out!
Pick 3! Pick 3! And have a beautiful weekend! (The broccoli is from my vegetable garden – I just picked it!)
Let me know if I can be of any assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org
A couple of weeks ago my husband was working out of town and he asked me to measure the height of the columns we were remodeling on our front porch. So I got one of his measuring tapes (he has a collection), and while he was on the phone, he told me what to measure, and I did. After I told him the height he said, “I thought it was taller than that; what happened?”
I said, “This is how high it is. It is what it is. How hard can this be?”
“Are you sure that’s the correct height?” He sounded perplexed.
“Oh, I’m sure honey. I can read a tape measure, you know.”
So he ordered the columns based on my measuring acumen. When he returned home and had the pleasure of installing said columns, I was in the kitchen merrily cleaning up the lunch dishes. Then he popped his head in and said, “Honey, can you come out here for a minute?” That’s usually not a good sign.
“How high did you say those columns were when I called you and asked you to measure; was it 109 or 113?”
Grasping by now the gravity of my answer I gave a quick glance at the columns noticing the hight differential between the white styrofoam and the wood beams and said, “113? I’m pretty sure I said 113 (the correct answer).”
“I think you said 109 because that’s what I ordered. I knew it didn’t sound right.”
“But, I am almost positive I said 113. I mean it was a couple of weeks ago, so it’s hard to remember,” was my poor excuse.
As you can tell by the photo, I was off by several inches. How did that happen? I tried to think of something fast.
“Honey, I might have used the wrong tape measure,” and….. “Well, I don’t know if I had my reading glasses on,” and…. “Are you sure that I said 109 instead of 113? I could have sworn I said 113.” I was grasping for anything at this point.
Which brings me to my point. What kind of excuses are you coming up with for not getting to that goal in the back of your head?
* Is your tape measure off? Do you have the right tools? Have you identified some of the things you might need to get started? Perhaps it’s an on-line course you have been meaning to take, or a computer you have been meaning to purchase so that you have something to work from.
* What about those reading glasses? Are you able to see clearly those things which are most important to you, work on those things that matter most to you and your family? Have you identified them, written them down somewhere?
* Is it 109 or 113? Are you being honest with yourself? “I haven’t worked on such and such a goal because I __________ (am too busy, don’t know how to do it, don’t know where or how to begin, … etc.).” Have you identifed those things that hold you back? For most of us it has to do with fear; some of us fear failure, some fear success, some fear change and what it might require of us.
Somehow my inventive husband will find a way to fill in the gap that I left for him. I figured out afterwards that I measured from the wrong part of the bottom of the column, which explained the 4 missing inches.
What gaps are you trying to bridge between your dreams and getting started? They might not be as big as you think! Let me know if I can be of any assistance at email@example.com. As long as it’s not measuring columns, I should be able to help you tackle it!