The big debate: Yes, I’m talking about masks.

2 Comments


To wear a mask, or not to wear a mask, that is the big debate. So, in an effort to understand both sides, I conducted extensive research and here’s what I learned: every YouTube video, claim, meme, etc., requires fact-checking. Why? Because it’s easy to find “evidence” to back any position. In fact, that’s how I became guilty, early on, of spiritualizing/judging the mask discussion. Personally, I wear a mask because—if the experts are correct—then I may be helping to better protect my immunocompromised husband. If the experts are wrong, then I simply lived with a temporary inconvenience. But I also understand/respect that not everyone can/will wear a mask; yet I’m oftentimes labeled a “sheep” for following the pro-mask side. Incidentally, what do I call the other side? And why must it be “us against them?” Aren’t we all in this thing together? For the record, I am a sheep. One in need of her Shepherd. Daily.

If you’d like to weigh in, please remain kind.

Image courtesy of franky242 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Igniting a spark of hope: a 10-day challenge

Leave a comment

I don’t know about you, but the discord within the world—our country, our cities, even between many families and friends—wreaks continued havoc on my mental health. And yes, I regularly practice “all the things” I can control. However, it proves harder each day to pull myself out of self-reflection (and, quite honestly, a bit of self-pity) to jump into self-lessness. To pivot my mind away from the senseless deaths, destruction and disrespect; to disengage from the deafening buzz of debates and disillusionment that clambers for attention. And instead, to seek a safe landing place to refocus, and to set the stage for igniting a spark of hope like a sky ablaze with fireworks. A friend of mine recently posted a dare, of sorts, on Facebook: Can you challenge yourself to make a difference in someone’s life once, for 10 days? My first reaction: How do I find time for that? Followed by: How can I not?

Share in the comments how you are making a difference.

Image courtesy of Rattikankeawpun at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Talk to me: no invitation necessary

1 Comment

 

I’ve never liked confrontation. Yet, avoidance is seldom the best solution. Perhaps today you’re embroiled in a gross misunderstanding. Maybe you’ve been wounded or your words or actions have hurt someone else. One friend of mine—rather than confront a misunderstanding—oftentimes requires an invitation, of sorts, to re-establish the lines of communication. However, this only serves to foster discord. Although I’m the first in line to minimize conflict whenever possible, I don’t require an invitation to initiate a dialog. For example, I’m always willing to provide clarification or nip an assumption in the bud. OK, except between 9 p.m. and 4:30 a.m., or while I’m hiking or writing or practicing yoga or it’s “Friday pizza movie night.” When misunderstandings occur (because they will), I’d like to suggest a tactic rooted in gentleness, kindness and love: that we proactively seek to facilitate a pathway toward common ground. We may have to agree to disagree. But at least we’re talking.

Who do you need to reach out to today?

Habit vs. lifestyle: a rule of thumb

1 Comment

As we dip our toes into the New Year and revisit goals or “resolutions” we made, it seems fitting to discuss habit vs. lifestyle. From what I’ve read, the 21/90 rule of thumb says it takes 21 days to build a habit, and 90 days to build a lifestyle. As you chew on that, remember: the more you “put out” what you desire more of, the more you attract the same. That goes for the bad stuff too. Is this the year you practice more #selflove? Show more #kindness? Kickstart a creative venture? Learn an instrument or a foreign language? With the advent of 2020, perhaps a new habit becomes a lifestyle brimming with healthier choices. Or maybe, like me, you simply want to treat each new day as an adventure, and to make space for a lifestyle that attracts abundance. Take the first step and commit to one day. Then the next. And see where it takes you.

Are you building a new habit or a lifestyle?

A better way: approaching seasons of ‘excess’

3 Comments

On particularly rough days,
when you’re sure you can’t possibly endure anymore,
remind yourself that your track record
for getting through bad days so far
is 100%.

For many of us, this season rings in “excess.” Excess busyness and consumption. Excess worries, expenditures and expectations. Half the time, I’m torn between the “If you can’t beat ‘em…” and the “Enough is enough!” spectrum. But the more we give from a heart of excess (see “…Sharing the gift of ourselves”), the more we have to give. As we find ourselves wrapped up in this holiday’s hubbub, I challenge each of us to adopt an attitude of excess kindness. It costs little to share a meal with an elderly neighbor (bring an excess so she can enjoy seconds). Or deliver dinner to the homebound. It simply takes a generous heart. And perhaps our kindness will be an answer to someone else’s prayer on a particularly rough day. Remember: holidays aren’t required for excess kindness to make a difference.

Merry Christmas!

Taking ownership: making your health & well-being priority

1 Comment

 

January turned out to be the month to exercise kindness: to myself (see “A new way to approach the New Year: what’s your word?“). Because let’s face it: if I’m not personally invested in myself, then who will be? On my quest to take ownership of my overall health and well-being, I’ve met with various doctors this month—including my primary care physician who ordered a glut of labs to rule out myriad disorders (yay, me), and my cardiologist who I retain to monitor a congenital heart defect. The good news: in all areas tested, I either show normal or improved results. There is no bad news. I feel like I’m finally back on track. And that the lifestyle modifications I’ve applied over the last half year are not only working, but they’re realistic and maintainable. For me, that’s a win-win. Next up: annual echocardiogram, and lab work to dismiss a familial blood disorder. Oh yes, and an overdue skin cancer checkup.

How do you invest in yourself?

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A new way to approach the New Year: what’s your word?

2 Comments

 

I think it would be much more sensible
if resolutions began generally
on January the second.
~ Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones’s Diary)

Resolution—a word that can conjure up anxiety, ill will, self-defeat—even before we put wings to it. For decades I’ve attempted to ring in the new year with resolutions, plans, intentions. This year, however, prior to the advent of Jan. 1, a single word settled upon my soul: “Exercise.” And because I already strive to incorporate 8-10 hours of weekly physical fitness into my life, my first thought sounded a lot like: WTH? But then I began putting pen to paper: Exercise… kindness. Exercise… my spiritual muscles. Exercise… self-control, self-discipline and my faith. Exercise… gratitude, creativity and my mind. And, yes, exercise my physical body. Each insight also includes tangible ways I can live out my word—a reference to measure my journey throughout the days and weeks ahead. It’s going to be a good year—I can feel it.

What’s your word for 2019?

Image courtesy of 7crafts at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Take a cup of kindness yet: a resolve that’s timely

Leave a comment

A part of kindness consists in
loving people more than they deserve.
~ Joseph Joubert

You cannot do kindness too soon, for you never
know how soon it will be too late.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s that time when many of us take stock of the past 365 days, and we may even begin to sketch out New Year’s resolutions, goals or bucket lists. For me, the past year has encompassed myriad life events: change, challenges and loss. It’s also involved answered prayers, growth and new opportunities. And once again I await with expectation a blank slate in which to draft a new chapter. A word of advice, however, and a note to self: In order to set ourselves up for success from the start, we must allow for plot twists. You know: because life. Yet perhaps the first thing we must resolve is to extend kindness without delay. It’s a practice that’s always right on time.

How will your new year be different than the last?

Image courtesy of graphixchon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

#1 way to grow in every area of your life

Leave a comment

At my last acupuncture appointment, my practitioner inquired about a trip my husband and I took up north to celebrate our wedding anniversary. I told her the getaway proved a magical way to usher in our 30th year of marriage. I also shared that, in retrospect, the majority of our married life had always seemed effortless. This insight struck my husband and me recently after we experienced a falling out and realized that, over the past several years, we’d stopped investing: in each other. In us. Bottom line: When we begin to pursue separate interests more and communicate less, we invite apathy. When we fail to faithfully plant seeds of kindness and love, we foster discontent. But when we afford effort to make together time a priority, we cultivate connection. Here’s the takeaway, friends: what we feed (invest in) grows—whether it’s our vocation, education, bank account, spiritual life, health or relationships. Or even an addiction. And what we starve dies.

Where do you invest the most effort?

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

7 tips to incorporate mindfulness into your day

Leave a comment

If you want to conquer the anxiety of life,
live in the moment, live in the breath. ~ Amit Ray

In my post, “A month of mindfulness…,” I share how I’ve begun to practice mindfulness—the act of consciously directing my awareness, without judgment—moment by moment. I also include a few examples of where I’ve begun to pay attention on purpose. Here are seven tips on how you might incorporate mindfulness into your everyday routine: 1) Choose a better-for-you beverage or snack option. 2) Focus on your breath when you’re uncomfortable, scared or upset. 3) Give other speakers 100 percent of your attention. 4) Notice if you exhibit behaviors like jumping to conclusions or overreacting, interrupting or responding with rudeness. 5) Look for ways to extend compassion and kindness to those around you. 6) Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations—before you “think aloud.” 7) Pause before you speak/email/text. Bonus: Always remember it’s a practice. Then watch the changes start to unfold.

How do you practice mindfulness?

Photo courtesy of David Castillo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Older Entries