When you run out of margin: create more

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In November, my second three-year term as secretary on my neighborhood community’s HOA board of directors concludes. I’m beyond excited to allocate my extra time toward other pursuits in an already jam-packed schedule. Case in point: a goof up this past Sunday in regard to said schedule reiterates that my margin runs shallow. While I spent two hours in the mountains hiking and writing, my church peeps waited for relief at the information desk. Although written in my planner, I overlooked my commitment when organizing my morning trek. With one minute to spare, I showed up for service, located a seat and later learned I had missed my volunteer stint. Yes, I’m human, but the oversight forced me to admit I either need to a) slow down or b) color code my task list. Regardless, good riddance to crabby neighbors and hello to more time for things that thrill me. It’s about creating margin (and taking a nap or two).

What happens when you run out of margin?

Photo courtesy of nunawwoofy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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The quick fix: the easy way out may not be the best way through

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I was born with a bicuspid aortic valve. Six months ago, my cardiologist and I met to review my lab work and talk about my treatment plan. At that time, he put me on a supplement to help lower my total and LDL cholesterol—a hereditary albatross I’ve carried my entire adult life—with a recheck in three months. I balked at taking the supplement. I know it works (I’ve taken it before with great success), but the side effects can be unpleasant and permanent. Although a quick fix, I chose to abstain. I rescheduled my appointment for six months out and began my mindfulness journey. Today, positive change is reflected in the numbers from my latest blood draw. It would’ve been easy to take the supplement, but it wouldn’t have been the best way for me to claim ownership of my health. More changes await around the corner, but I’m encouraged. Sometimes proof is all we need to push through.

When have you bypassed the quick fix?

Photo source: http://www.conanfitness.com.

Keep your eyes on the prize: how to quiet the chatter and remain present

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During a recent visit with my acupuncturist, I informed her that the chatter in my mind overwhelmed me. She treated me accordingly and I walked out of her office feeling calm, centered. As I drove home that evening, I contemplated how easy it is to become preoccupied by distractions that don’t serve or advance our purpose. How we get wrapped up in the news, TV, politics, social media or anything else that adds to the “chatter.” I’m not advocating ignorance: it’s important to remain educated on what’s taking place around us—near and far. And to get involved in whatever capacity we’re able. But here’s where we must be mindful: If we spend more time immersed in diversions, we begin to worry, play the comparison game, make excuses and turn inward. Live in our own little worlds. If we keep our eyes on the prize, however, it’s easier to quiet the chatter and remain present. To make a difference.

How do you keep your eyes on the prize?

Photo source: http://www.ideapod.com.

When you feel like a failure: don’t look back

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You know when the perfect opportunity to offer words of wisdom and insightful advice to your child—adult or otherwise—takes on the appearance of a train wreck versus the motherly win you strive for? Even with a quarter century of parenting experience under my belt, I still bomb (and not the fizzled-out kind), the recent fail an up-close-and-personal affront at my ability to think before I speak—to mindfully build up rather than fight fire with fire. Tears ensued. Hugs suspended. Hours later, my mom ego bruised, I waved a white flag in the form of a text: Do-over? My treat. My faith life on display, it had revealed a mind and heart polluted by the demons I refer to in “Fighting the demons…:” old habits repeated, past choices tendered. But I have a choice now: I can allow the mistakes of yesterday to define today, or I can choose not to look back. Because that’s not the direction I’m headed.

How do you respond to failure?

Photo source: http://www.passionpluspurpose.com.

Defeating the demons: pressing in to get your head (and heart) unstuck

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In my recent post, “Make peace with the past…” I contemplate the choice to salvage the Someday mentality [“Someday my dreams will come true, I’ll accomplish X, Y and Z or fill-in-the-blank”]—or to let go of the one-sided dreams. You know the type—where the outcome centers on circumstances beyond your control. Today, I’m at a crossroads as I fight a few familiar demons: rehashing old habits, rethinking past choices, dwelling on the old. Yet the only way to reclaim my reality is to dig deeper, to press in to those areas which best define me: my passion and my purpose. To pursue, with greater intent, life’s simple pleasures and the transformative power of prayer, the mindful practice of gratitude and self-compassion. And to finally release those things which I cannot change in order to appreciate the life that’s smack dab in front of me. Not a million miles away. Not within the pages of a fairytale. But here, and now.

How do you defeat the demons?

Image source: askideas.com.

Make peace with the past: say goodbye to unrequited dreams

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In a recent post, “Information overload…” I list six key points that continue to rattle around in my mind. Point number five deals with a hurting heart: for a world that appears to have turned against itself (yes, I know there is still good to be found) and for those in my life who daily battle demons I cannot begin to fathom. And even for my own fractured dreams. However, when a dream we dream seems to die a sudden—or a slow and painful—death to the point where it is no longer recognizable, it’s time to bury it, bid it farewell and then muster up the courage to dream a new dream. Maybe we can salvage the once-upon-a-time ideal. The Someday mentality. Or perhaps we simply accept that our dream was biased, its outcome never within our reach from the beginning. This fresh understanding permits us to make peace with the past and forge a new future. To dream new dreams.

What dream do you dream?

Do what you can: how to cultivate discipline

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On the heels of my previous post, “Persistence, determination…,” what if you don’t see the results of your consistent efforts right away? Or even within months or years of “showing up” each day? How do you fight the discouragement and keep on keeping on? That, my friends, boils down to the question: How badly do you want it? If it’s something that doesn’t occupy your thoughts 24/7 or make you excited to jump (or crawl) out of bed each morning, then whatever it is may no longer be worthy of your attention. And that’s okay. But if it is a dream that defines you or your purpose in life, then you must work through any disappointment or obstacles and chalk them up as growing pains. Maybe up your game, reprioritize. Simplify along the way. According to “Consistency Beats Talent…,” ‘Do what you can with the hours you have. Cultivate discipline. Master your time so you can maximize your production with what time you have.’

How do you cultivate discipline?

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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