The Power of P

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the-power-of-p

If the number of visitors who read my recent post, ‘A simple(r) life…,’ is any indication of what much of society pursues, then this topic ranks up there with all things happiness-related. I believe that’s because a happy, simple life is a basic necessity many of us seek. However, we often get in our own way and make it complicated, instead. For example, if you’ve searched for happiness your entire life—in relationships, material goods, addictions, net worth—you’ve discovered it’s an illusion, a temporary fix. Why? Because true happiness manifests itself when we sow into others’ lives something of value, something that will last: our time. A simplicity known as kindness. It’s only then that we find fulfillment—contentment that arises from a humble heart. Good news: it’s an ongoing practice, not perfect. With that said, my pursuits for 2017 revolve around keeping it simple with the power of P: peace, patience, purpose and a more passionate prayer life.

What is your No. 1 goal for 2017?

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When we stop trying to plan everything

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Stop planning
Last week we celebrated my daughter’s birthday. A day beforehand, I asked her what flavor cupcakes and ice cream she preferred. Surprise me, she said. For a Type A planner, this kind of response causes my heart to race and my palms to sweat. OK, not really, but why make things more complicated than they need to be? In my writing life, I demand certain conditions be met before I write. And, unless I have an outline in place, forget it. Plus, my days must be planned from beginning to end. But, when I don’t allow wiggle room into the equation, I miss out on the opportunity to improvise; to practice patience. To be kind(er). Perhaps instead of crossing every T and dotting each I, we apply a simplified mindset to the moment: a go-with-the-flow approach. A skeleton idea, of sorts—to our day; our (personal) story. Then let the rest be a delicious surprise. P.S. The birthday sweets were a hit.

Do you practice a go-with-the-flow mindset?

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Setting goals isn’t brain surgery

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Setting goals
Declutter and simplify your life. Lose weight without dieting. Find happiness in six easy steps. Write a book in 20 minutes. Most of the time I wield a fast-food mentality as I look for an easy way to achieve results—a “how-to” fix. In between stocking the frig with healthy meals and the closets with clean clothes, working full-time and keeping fit, I seek short cuts when feasible—especially as it pertains to goal setting of any kind. But it turns out I’ve been making it way more complicated than it needs to be. One of my friends recently posted this quote on Facebook: Set goal. Make plan. Get to work. Stick to it. Reach goal. Last week I finally set a goal, made a plan, got to work and stuck to it for the full week. I wrote. Every. Damn. Day. And it felt fan-freaking-tastic. On to the next goal. Before I know it, Someday my dreams will come true.

What does your goal-setting process look like?

Revisiting the monkey mind

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Monkey MindEver get accused of thinking too much? Making assumptions? Complicating things? I’ve heard it said that men’s minds organize thoughts into neat compartments, or boxes, while women’s minds navigate the tangled and vast circuitry of cyberspace. Yet, I take it a step further with “monkey mind.” Unsettled, restless. It only stops jumping around during yoga practice and while I’m sleeping, although I beg to differ with the latter. In the mornings, I awaken tired and cranky. Without ambition. It could be a few health issues I’m dealing with, but mostly it’s a mind that won’t stay still. It worries and plans, it regrets and rehashes, it hopes and prays, it bargains and posits assorted scenarios; it begs me to make changes that my heart, when I’m conscious, refuses to acquiesce. In my post, From the inside out, I talk about how to focus on breath to tame the chatter. But I also think there comes a time to simply let go.

How do you tame a monkey mind?

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Word-of-the-month: circuitous (adj.)

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[Image credit: Arvind Balaraman]

This month I’ve chosen the word circuitous to pick apart.  As much as I read, I have to admit I don’t know that I’ve ever run across it in one of my books and only just heard it in passing.  Pronounced ser-kyoo-i-tuhs, it is an adjective and, according to Merriam-Webster online dictionary, means having a circular or winding course; or, not being forthright or direct in language or action.  Synonyms include back road, by way of, complicated, devious, meandering, labyrinth and roundabout.  Antonyms are direct, in line, straight.  Sample sentences may read: The traffic was redirected to a circuitous route through town in order to avoid the holiday parade.  And: According to witnesses, the alleged criminal’s alibi seemed a bit circuitous Personally speaking, my life seems to be taking the circuitous route to Someday, but it sure is scenic along the way.  And I find that the back roads oftentime illumine the path I should have been taking all along.

Where does your life take the roundabout way?