Friday, February 26, 2010

You just ticked away your relationship...

Today...Tick, Tock...

Something occurred to me yesterday -- hardly a revolutionary thought, but one that went thump -- the type of inner call (brrrrinnng!) that gets my attention, everytime.   

We spend so much time with technology that we have removed ourselves from actual people.  I love FB; the convenience of emails -- spend some time texting and have a laptop and smartphone.  My work is computer-centered, writing articles, two blogs, editing four more and producing volumes of marketing materials, etc.  Follow this link to youtube video with data on the growth of social media.

Many of us rarely make time to see friends anymore and sadly, we have nudged that habit over to our significant partners. 

We are bound, people, tied... to our social media on computers and cellphones.  We have learned to mentally gyrate to the vibrations of technology rather than the nuance of face-to-face communication.  Holy crocus in a pottery bowl! as someone dear to me would say.

Tick-tock, people.  Ask yourself, how many hours at night or on the weekends do you spend texting, emailing, FB'ng, or working on the computer?  How much time do you spend yaking with someone else...and not the person with whom you are in a committed relationship?

"Remember back to when your heart was open."...DCR

Then, ask yourself another question.  How comforting is your computer?  Did your cell phone give you a high-five when you landed that job?  When your mom was sick, did the laptop hold you and tell you it would be alright?  Nope, hopefully, your significant other, or committed partner, did that.

I feel compelled to share this with you...the intimacy of your relationship can erode if you don't spend quality time together.  The good news, it won't take a great big effort to change it -- consistent effort, yes -- horrible and anxiety-ridden effort, no.  Once or twice a week, spend 2-4 hours talking with your main squeeze and focus on that person. 

Here is something simple you can do and it serves as dinner:

Some evening during the week, grab some cheeses, olives, crackers, veggies, nuts and two of your favorite beverages.  Take a few minutes to arrange it all pleasantly on a cheeseboard and plates -- NOT at the dining room table.  Place it in a comfortable area where you don't usually sit together and will have some privacy. (Funny how we only use those cozy little spaces for guests at our parties).  If you have kids, give them some nachos and cheese spread in another room.  (You know what I mean, here, right?).  This isn't a commentary on food, but on some no-tension quality time for you and your love. 

Give yourselves a couple of hours to munch and sip and talk -- do not chew over problems, or big projects, or anything that changes the energy to a negative space.  Remember back to when it was all new and your heart was open and your head was interested in this fascinating other person.

Why does the senario above work?  Well, for one... it takes some time to eat these little appetizers -- spread the cheese on the crackers, take a sip, talk.  Grab an olive, munch, take a sip, get the idea. For another... you are working at it -- making an effort to keep the intimate, one-human-being-to-another connection, alive.

Relationships are like anything else...left untended, they don't grow.  Ignored, they wither.  Ignored enough, they fade, bite-the-dust...cease to be, finito.

Tick-tock, tick-tock...

Heck, I don't care if it's JuJubees and juice, try it this weekend!

Happy Friday,


Monday, February 22, 2010

How to make difficult relationship decisions…it is a process

There are times in life when we arrive willingly or unwilling at a point that calls for a decision… one that might change our lives. I am not talking about altering a hairstyle or buying a new car. No, it is the decision that will affect you and someone else -- and often, it is about relationships. Let's talk about ending committed partner relationships.

First, things, first…
When you arrive at the point you feel it's necessary to consider making this kind of decision – acknowledge to yourself that it hasn't been an easy road. Why? Self-expectation. When we fall in love and make a commitment, we expect it will turn out well. If it doesn't, quite often, we find ourselves surprised and somehow to blame. We take it all on, in one big lump and it churns and churns…what is wrong…what could I have done differently…what should he/she have done differently…what happens if I end this…how will I ever be okay…how, how can I do this?

Get yourself to a location that is neutral – don't sit in your bedroom and contemplate walking away from a relationship and your home – that is just self-torture. If you are considering making a life-altering change, don't you think it is worth investing in a few days away? Go to a hotel at the beach or a loving friend's home for a couple of days – even one day. Get away from the entire situation and environment.

When you have stopped crying or feeling bad, perhaps had something to eat and some sleep, then you can approach the BIG question. How do you do that? Interview yourself…yeah, that's right…ask yourself a series of questions.

Sit down with yourself (just you…no one else) and a pad of paper. Be direct and clear with yourself and don't avoid the thoughts that come up -- you aren't making the BIG decision yet, you are just thinking about it.

Understand that the only person you can really change is yourself. Write down the following list of questions and answer them – Be brief, positive and specific:

  • Why am I here?
    Be fair to yourself -- by acknowledging that there must be some valid reason you have arrived at this point. Okay, you have just validated that you have a reason to be thinking the thoughts you are thinking.

  • Am I serious about this? Am I willing to accept the consequences of this decision?

  • What happens to me if I end this relationship? Write down everything that makes you feel afraid
  • What happens to my partner if I end this relationship? Write down everything that makes you feel afraid for...or of...your partner
  • What happens if I don't end this relationship? Be really honest here…

  • Is it too late to call a truce? Will more talk save this relationship? Will a trial separation period save this relationship?

  • Am I willing to try to work this out with a counselor/therapist?
    Get the name of a Marriage Family Therapist from someone you trust. Talk to your partner. Schedule an appointment – whether or not your partner agrees to accompany you. It is so important to talk with a neutral person. Your friend, or mom or sister or brother, usually are going to see things from your perspective. They may or may not be objective and honesty includes objectivity.
Once you have answered these questions in writing -- you have done just that and only that…answered your own questions. It doesn't mean you must act on them, it means you have taken the time to sort out your thoughts and emotions.

Don't rush right out and share your answers with anyone, including your best friend. Let them settle…they belong to you, they're yours. You can decide where you want to take it from this point and remember, you don't have to make that decision immediately.
So many times, it is fear that keeps us from making any type of decision. Having the answers to some of your questions should help quiet your fears and enable you to approach the situation from a stronger basis.

I want to share a very simple truth with you...

        "You will feel the way you feel, until you don't feel that way anymore". -- DCR 

In other words, you will recognize it when you are ready to make a change. Take a deep breath…and realize that.



Friday, February 12, 2010

Discover Your Purpose? You Already Have...

What about those sneaky little thoughts that pop up in our know, the ones that say, "I don't know what I want to do with my life," or "I haven't done anything with my life," or "I have wasted my life". 

These thoughts crop up for all of us at one time or another.  Guess what these thoughts really are?  These are Acts of Self-Sabotage (ASS) if you don't move past them into discovery, motivation and action.  The ASS thoughts (pun intended) just keep you in a demoralized place, if you let them roam freely around in your mind.  

I have a couple of suggestions to help you take progressive steps to move from negative mental miasma (an atmosphere that obscures; fog) to realizing that everyday you fulfill a purpose...everyday your thoughts and actions mean something to someone...everyday your life is purposeful. 

Begin by asking yourself some questions:

What would happen if I weren't here...yeah, really....
  • Would someone else pack your kids' lunch, plan their birthday parties, or yell for them at their sports events?
  • Would someone else make sure your mom, dad or grandma, get to participate in holiday events, birthdays, or take in the new movie the way you do?
  • Would someone else talk your best friend out of the blues the way you do?
  • Would someone else work the food line at the homeless shelter?
  • Would someone else be as diligent or take the same special care with your work projets?
  • Would someone else talk to the guy behind you at the checkout counter because he just looks like he needs a lift?
  • Would someone else encourage your husband/wife the way you do?
  • Would someone else express love, gratitude, intelligence, friendship at the right time, in the right place, in the same way you do?
  • Would someone else put all the love, hard work, effort and courage into your life, with all the simple kindnesses you do everyday? 
Do you think maybe those qualities and expressions listed above are purposeful?  Do you think, perhaps, you actually shape and even change lives? 

Here is the point I am sharing...

"There isn't any wasted experience.  You aren't a fragmentary idea, you are whole, complete and express your purpose everyday, in small and large ways". -- DCR 

I planned to contribute some ideas on how to take action steps regarding purpose, but I discovered a great site that covers everything I would have said and more.  Here is the link: 

Have a great weekend.  Move on from the ASS thoughts...Love yourself and share that love with someone else...

Happy Valentine's Day,

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Take a chance on happiness... figure it out in the fast lane!

My Truth Today
Happiness is a big topic and there are no guaranteed steps to it because we are all individuals.  We each have our own concept of what our happiness looks like.  Our separate visions of happiness have different components, desires, faces.  Here are a few suggestions on how to recognize, reach out and grab your happiness.  And, after all the work to get there, it is up to you to sustain it:

"Sure, you can share your life with other people...think of a track field with all the different lanes... but please notice that you are the only one in your lane". -- Diana Campbell Rice

Live right now...
Yesterday is gone -- aggressively take from it the best and positive and leave the rest -- it doesn't help our attitudes to constantly have that "could have... should have... conversation with ourselves".  It leaves us feeling inadequate when we continually tell ourselves that things would have worked out better if we had said or done something differently.  We didn't, so what?  Today is new.  Tomorrow isn't yet, so we have today to make our choices. 

Today is your experience. Understand that what you are thinking about, negative or positive, will shape your outlook, attitude and experiences for the whole day. 

Choose to be on your own side...
Gosh, can't we all be hard on ourselves?  Soul-search and figure out what inner voice tape keeps running on a loop in your mind -- fear, anger, worry, jealousy?  Negative thoughts cause negative emotions and that makes us feel bad.  Simple, huh?  Recognize and identify what is causing you to feel badly, don't just react to it.  Replace those negative thoughts, one at a time, with good ones... about yourself, your life, your job, your spouse, your family or... fill in the blank that works for you. 

Take responsibility...
Ooooh, this can be a toughie.  Here it one, let me repeat, no one, is responsible for you, but you.  Your husband/wife, best friend, boss, mother/dad or cousin Sue aren't living your life.  You are the only person making the decisions about your life.  You are walking along your own individual life/growth path.  Sure, you can share life with other people, think of a track field with all the different lanes, but please notice that you are the only one in your lane.  Be conscious of your own mind, your behavior, your actions, your reactions.  These make up your day-to-day experience and ultimately, your happiness or dissatisfaction.  And, after all, that is what unhappiness is...when you are not satisfied with yourself, someone else, or something else. By the way, if you choose to give away the responsibility for your happiness/life to someone else, that person will often get tired of carrying around that responsibility... and give it back, unpleasantly.

Support yourself...
You have a right to be who you are and live up to your own expectations. Get your thoughts, hopes, dreams and actions into alignment. Put yourself in a quiet location and let your mind wander.  Accept all the feelings that come up and use them to identify both the positive and negative thoughts.  Acknowledge negative thoughts, one at a time, and replace each one with a positive self statement. This is one way to figure out what it is you want or need to change in your life.  The picture will get clear and you will get a good view of your own expectations and realize that these are the only ones you need to live up one else's expectations really matter in the long run.

Decide to live with purpose...
  • Determine that you have the power to achieve your happiness (this often involves goals)
  • Determine that you are taking responsibility for your happiness
  • Identify your action steps necessary to move toward happiness and away from dissatisfaction
  • Check yourself often (thoughts, behavior, actions) to see if you are on track
  • Develop an attitude of gratitude
  • Spread some kindness
  • Stop making everyone else's life revolve around yours and do something good for someone else
  • Give yourself a treat everyday and enjoy it (not necessarily food or jewelry :) 
  • Don't obsess over the lack of anything...(fill in the blank here -- what is it you think you don't have enough of, or what is missing?)
  • Live for today and let tomorrow take care of itself.  You will have what you need.
  • Don't compare yourself or your life to anyone else's
  • Make the time to interact with people who make you feel good
  • Don't have any time to interact with people who make you feel bad about yourself
  • Don't carry the world on your shoulders
  • Work at your faith and find your truth, whatever that is
Wishing you a much recognized happiness,

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My Truth Today 2/3/10 - Five Steps to Change...yes you can!

I was thinking today about how hard it is to change...and figuring out what it is you want to change.  For most people the future is where everything will be okay.  The future/dream is when we will have.... the job we want or... look the way we want or... have the perfect relationship or.... start living the dream. do you get there, other than waiting for it to happen?  My example below focuses on changing careers, but these tips can be utilized in most of the dreams listed above. Here are some simple ideas to get you going:

Know Thyself
  • Get about an hour of free, uninterrupted time.  (I do some of my best thinking at the Starbucks around the corner).   Take a pad or notebook with you. 
  • Ask yourself what it is you want and let the answers come to the surface. Give yourself some time on this one, it may not happen all at once.  (You can go back to Starbucks a few times!)  Be honest.  Write it down.
  • Lots of people say to themselves, "I would be happy if....," but you know what, that is really a trap that leads down the negative rabbit hole.  Don't let your mind go there.   Here is an example of what I mean: "I would be happy if I had a new job and didn't have to work at this place anymore."Switch that thought to the more positive approach of "I love to write.  I want to work in the marketing field.  How can I do that?"
  • Find out who you are in that role and be that.  Start building your skills and contacts.  Research the field.  Read all the articles you can.  See yourself in your new job. 
Choose a Role Model
  • Reach out to someone who is already working in the field.  Ask for a meeting with that person. And, it is okay to tell them you are looking into the ______field and want to get his/her take on it.  Be prepared for the meeting -- do your homework on not only the person you are meeting with, but his/her company as well.  Be prepared to ask questions and share your ideas and thoughts.  In other words, by being prepared, you won't waste their time or yours. 
Dress the Part
  • This one just makes sense.  We have all heard the advice, "dress for success" -- it's true.  Start moving into your new role, with knowledge and an image. 
Realize Change has Happened!
  • This is a biggie.  Realize...that by making the decision about what you want; gaining knowledge and connections in the field; reaching out for a mentor; dressing in your new are already living the dream! The new job will happen, because you have decided it will and have begun the action steps that will move you toward it.
Thanks for letting me share.  Best wishes,

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Truth Today 2/2/10 - How to "Take the High Road"

Conflict...we all run into it, have to face it, and... have to deal with it.  Apparently, there is no limit to where you can find it, or, it can find you. 

So, how do we find the willingness to take a higher path when someone has pushed our buttons, stepped on our toes, offended our sensabilities, crowded in line, cut us off in traffic or said something incredibly rude?

How do you find a way to express love instead of anger or sarcasm to resolve what seems to be a difficult situation? It isn’t easy to reach such readiness to yield, but here are some ideas that might be beneficial...

Take a moment.  Actually, give yourself time to collect your thoughts and determine HOW you want to respond.  Take a deep breath, several if needed.  Center yourself.  There is no law that says you have to make a quick verbal comeback.  Command your mental space.  I am not talking about not standing up for yourself, I am talking about choosing a response rather than letting a knee-jerk reaction define you.

While you are "centering" or finding your zen place, think about a couple of things...
  • Find a way to respond that won't escalate the situation.  Rather than, "You punk, I am next in line, " you might say, "You like the chocolate brownies, too?  We are all waiting in line," then gesture to the end of the line. 
  • What about the person/friend who says, "You look tired or asks if you have gained weight?  I can't believe that people have that kind of the chutzpah, but they do.  Your centered response..."Actually, I am feeling so full of energy since I started walking," or, look them in the eye and laughingly say, "Gosh, it seems like we both could use a fitness program." (This last one isn't strictly the highest road, but it allows you to stand up for yourself without an angry response).
  • Take a breath.  Consider who it is that is doing or saying something that upsets you. If you can take a look from his/her perspective, it might help.  Who knows what is going on in his/her life.  You can choose to find compassion and respond with kindess.  I think it is called grace.
Finally, don't allow the unpleasant incident, whatever it was, to ruin your day.  Ask yourself if you will even remember it in two months?  Most likely, you won't.  Nothing says you lose anything if you...don't have to be "right"... smile and walk away... or simply yield.  It is the high road and builds inner strength when we travel on it.
Mark Twain said..."Always do right - this will gratify some and astonish the rest."

Thank you to Rice Agency and Associates
for the use of today's beautiful photo.

Monday, February 1, 2010

What Is My Truth Today... 2/1/10...Inspiration Needed or My Muse is Missing

We all get stuck…call it Writer’s Block…call it Lack of it whatever you want, but it is that big blank spot that happens when there is something you need to write or do or someone you need to contact and, well, you aren't.  The point is moving from not writing it, doing it or connecting to completion/conclusion/achievement.  Here are a few ideas that might help: 

Tips for inspiration...
  • Move away from where you usually work.  Change your environment and often your thoughts will change.  Talk a walk around the block.  Go to the park.  Go to your local coffee house.  Go to the library.
  • Talk with friends, colleagues, family, who are supportive and share your thoughts with them.  Ask for feedback and ideas.  You will be amazed how this will spark creativity.  The pros call them focus groups.  Form your own.
  • Listen to music you love and let it unwind the snarls so your mind gets to that peaceful place.  Sometimes letting go gives you the freedom to concentrate.
  • Use "top of mind awareness" -- in this case it means to have a pad or piece of paper in front of you and write down the first thing that comes to you.  It may work and it may not, but keep going.  You will make the connection.
  • Keep a set of colored pencils and write your thoughts in different colors. 
  • Chart your thoughts...Write one word that describes your goal/idea/need/.  Circle it and draw a line out from it.  Write the next thought next to that line and circle it.  Draw another line from the center circle. Write the next thought next to that line and circle it.   So on and so on.  You may be thunderstruck at what happens when you chart your thoughts this way. 
  • Do something you don't normally do...try a new board game; go to a new restaurant; go on a one-day trip, etc.  It doesn't really matter what the new thing is that you do -- it will give you a new view and that often leads to new thoughts.
Shakespeare's Sonnet 38 invokes the Tenth Muse:

"How can my Muse want subject to invent,

While thou dost breathe, that pour'st into my verse

Thine own sweet argument?"

The point here...create your own Muse and have fun doing it.