Monday, May 31, 2010

The Many Avenues of Truth: Motives -- check in often

Hello! Sorry again that I haven't posted in two weeks -- crazy schedule -- fabulous and inspiring, but the kind that required my entire focus.

I have been thinking recently about the importance of motive, i.e. that little factor that shapes our thought and leads to action. Actually, motive is much larger than what we think, when you bring it into mind as a question, you can begin to define your response to the words and actions of others. Not only can you question your own motives -- you are free to investigate and determine the motivation of other people -- friends, family, colleagues, brief acquaintances, etc. Sometimes these questions are effortless to recognize, as in, "What on earth was he/she thinking?" We all easily recognize that thought! Sometimes, not so much.

Today's discussion is about quietly assessing why we or someone else has said or done something. It is a valuable tool, for ourselves (why are we thinking, saying or doing whatever it is we are thinking, saying or doing) or...why is someone else saying or doing something.

I have heard it said that our motives are the same thing as our desires. Hmmm, ok...what do people want – way deep down? We all want to be happy...I think it is that simple.
How do motives play into the happiness plan? Motives lead to intentions.

Now, having said that mouthful, let me begin to explain:  There are lots and lots of ways to approach anything. We each choose on an infinitesimal scale daily what we are going to say and do. All interactions involve what? Yay, you guessed it -- people. So, we have our own motives...and make no mistake about am I going to respond today so I can express my own idea of happiness... love, patience, mercy and peace or am I going to get what I want regardless of the pain/discomfort/humiliation/loss of confidence/sadness/hurt/ it might cause another person? That itty-bitty definition is motive boiled down to its core.

You don't suck it up like your favorite strawberry milkshake. -- DCR

What about the motivations of other people? I love my mama -- she boils stuff down to the core in every interaction she has -- she knows where her feet are and can pretty much tell you why the other guy is saying or doing whatever it is he/she saying or doing. Gosh, I appreciate that skill. There is no fooling her. She has lived long enough to know the wisdom of asking that question...why? She taught her girls to ask that question...did we always listen? Well, that is another story.

For ourselves, we can ask the question... how is this going to effect someone else-- is this thought/conversation/action constructive or destructive? And, hey, no matter what you are telling yourself, you know the answer. You may want to start practicing a little self-awareness -- we may be just a little rusty on that one -- but it is how we take responsibility for our thoughts/words and actions. And please, don't be vague here. Gosh, don't you just love vague -- you can hide all sorts of things there. Smiling.

Let's talk about why it might be wise to question other folks' motives? Because you are not a complete ninny, that is why. You are intelligent -- you realize people say or do stuff for all kinds of reasons that are not always in your best interest. Do you hate them for it? NO, you recognize what they are doing and why, then deflect it. You don't suck it up like your favorite strawberry milkshake. We live and learn. If we care at all, we learn to recognize motivations and behaviors.

You want an example? OK. You have a friend that always, always shares his/her drama with you...seeking your input (which by the way you give with your whole heart and good intentions)...but stuff never changes, the drama continues in one form or another. Does the relationship drama in his/her life ever get fixed? Does he/she ever actually solve the problem? In this situation his or her motivation for telling you these private problems isn't really for you to fix it, this person is just using you for a dumping ground -- your input goes in one ear and out the other. This isn't is destructive if you are feeling sad, drained, frustrated or tired after a conversation with this person. OK, so... you now recognize what this person is doing and stop your emotional investment. Sure, you can still listen if you want (I wouldn't, but that is my take), but know that you cannot invest yourself in helping this person solve anything. You are not being are recognizing motivation and choosing how you are going to respond to it.

Either recognizing what motivates ourselves or other is valuable. It is a tool you will want to use often. It will make a difference in your own happiness and for others, too.

Constructive...destructive? It is up to you.

With respect and affection,

Thursday, May 27, 2010

So Sorry - more to come

Hi there,
My apologies for the lapse in posting.  Our family is in the process of a new business start-up and it has taken more of my time than I thought.  I will have a new post either this weekend or early next week.  Thank you for your patience.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Live in the changes worry and stress

We all sure worry, don't we? We worry about what is going to happen tomorrow (future). We worry about what happened yesterday (past).  I've have been talking to people lately  about anxiety and fear and and most of them seem to be conditioned into the art of worry, too.  We are certainly not alone in that leaking boat.   

Recently I have been thinking about the importance of "living in the moment"; what that concept really means and how it could impact the worry habit.  Here is the deal about living in the don't get to drag anything from the past or imagine any future bad stuff into the present moment -- it simply is impossible.  To live in THIS moment is to have only what you are experiencing NOW in it.  What is that?  Right now.  Can you really pay off those student loans right now?  Can you save that important relationship right now?  Can you lose that extra 10 lbs. right now?  Can you pay off your mortage right now?  Can you make up for all the crappy stuff you might have done, right now?  I am here to tell you the answer to that is No, nope, uh uh.  The "I should have..." and "what ifs" don't fit into the present reality of right now.  

So, you might ask, what can I do right now, in THIS moment.  You can be still and focus on the good in your life.  This is the "feeling the sunshine on your face" moment, or the "wow, that poppy is a fabulous color of orange" moment, or the "he/she has the most beautiful smile " moment.  If we don't focus on the right now, we might miss the fullness and depth of beauty, grace, friendship, prosperity, love, generosity, and yes, dare I say held in this one moment.  And, the joy of THIS moment isn't always about other people or things.  It can be about you.  It can be as simple as "I love my hair today" or as moving as the thought, "I am totally in a great place and I know everything will be fine" to "I am so loved and that makes me happy."  

Flip the script, folks...Recognize as you are folding the clothes -- "I am taking care of my family".  Recognize as you are paying bills (ouch) -- "I paid for my phone this month".  Recognize as you are driving to work -- "I have a car".  Recognize as you are preparing your project for presentation -- "I have been given this to do and I can do it well".  Recognize as you are sitting on the patio enjoying the breeze and beverage and beautiful evening -- "this is nice".  Do you see how past events or things that might happen tomorrow don't really fit into this present moment?

So much of the "stuff" we stress about isn't even events or people in our lives... it is about how we think about it that creates the worry.   

Definitions of worry from the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
(I kinda relate all of these definitions to what we do to ourselves when we worry...)

1 dialect British : choke, strangle (we are strangling our happiness)
2 a : to harass by tearing, biting, or snapping especially at the throat b : to shake or pull at with the teeth c : to touch or disturb something repeatedly d : to change the position of or adjust by repeated pushing or hauling (we are biting and snapping at ourselves; constantly revisiting the problem or hauling that mental rock up the hill at every opportunity)
3 a : to assail with rough or aggressive attack or treatment : torment b : to subject to persistent or nagging attention or effort (we are beating ourselves up)
4 : to afflict with mental distress or agitation : make anxious
How can you live in the moment?  Insist on changing the worrying moments into now moments.  Let the past go (what can really you do about it anyway?) and the future unfold, as it inevitably will. 
Here are some ideas that may be blocking you from living in and enjoying the moment:
assumptions (thinking you know how something will turn out or why someone said or did something); continually creating drama (take a breath and give the other person(s) a break); taking it all personally (me, me, me, mine, mine, mine -- reminds me of the seagulls and the little NEMO fish); living (rolling around in and wallowing -- oooh, but the mud feels so cool) in the negative; ruminating on the should have, could have, would have, scenarios (two months or one year from now, you won't even remember most of the things that are currently looming so large in your life); pity party -- poor, poor me (aren't you sick of your own misery, yet?  Everyone else is...).  Interesting list, eh?
Let's go back to the positive.  Be alert to focus on the good, the happy, the sweet, the things that touch you deeply, the beauty and order of the leaves on the trees.  Good surrounds us and we often run right by it in our rushing thoughts to solve the problem. Oh, and one more thing I have found to be so useful...ask yourself this question..."What am I thankful for?"
Oh gosh, wishing you happy, peaceful, satisfying NOW moments.  This is one of them.
With respect,

Thank you to Rice Agency for the photo!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Regrets...How much time do you give to them?

My apologies for missing a new post last week.  I was otherwise occupied.  Smile. 

Okay, Okay.  We all have regrets -- y'know those actions, words or thoughts we wish we could undo or take back with a big, screaming, "Do Over!"  Remember, when you were a kid and it was as easy as that -- yelling, "Do Over"!  Unfortunately, adult life really doesn't work like an etch-a-sketch and "poof" the regret is erased.  I guess the big question is how to move on from thinking about them, or thinking about how to correct them, or how to ease the pain we experience every single time we revisit them.

"You absolute bonehead, how could you have said/done that?" -- DCR

Another it really the actual words or actions we regret, or the feelings we experience when we recall them, like one of my particular favorites when having a discussion with myself on the topic..."You absolute bonehead, how could you have said/done that?"  I'm thinking it is a bit of both.  We are sorry we did/said whatever it was and we really don't like the feeling that comes when we think about it -- the memory makes us feel even more miserable.

Sidetrack...Do you know people who make regret into a victimization art?  They are so good at it, they make you feel badly for them and kaboomski you are suddenly part of their whole regret scenario and you continually try to help them feel better.  How goofy is that?  It is like a heroin addiction..."Ooooh, but it feels so good to feel bad." Eeeeeuuu.  I know people like that and I am finally smart enough (TYG) to run as far and as fast as I can.

Okay, okay, back to my original point.  How much time and thought do we need to give to our regrets before we learn from them and move on?  Aha! Did you notice how I was sneaky there and threw in the "we learn from them" part?  A regret can play on and on like a loop on a tape, until it looms so large, that it morphs into something that becomes a part of us.  You need to recognize it if that is what you are doing.  

There are things we do or say that we really do need to face, admit and fix if we can.  It happens.  There is my point in a happens.  At one time or another, we all do and say stuff that is incredibly stupid or selfish or mean or any variety of the icky sorts of things our mommas told us not to do (if you are lucky enough that your momma passed along some wisdom).  Here comes the part I like...

Number one, if you are still doing something similar, stop doing it and number two, if you have the opportunity to say to the other person(s) involved that you are sorry... be big enough to say it and mean it. If you aren't still doing something similar but the thought of what you did keeps coming back like bad marinara sauce, tell yourself you are sorry you were so stupid and move on.  You have the power to do that.  You have the power and permission to have those conversations with yourself.  You can recognize your own poor behavior and feel sorry for it and fix it.  If you can't give yourself permission...I will.  Smile.  

I am getting to a juncture here.  Don't spend your energy or your life in the regret zone.  My God, people, can you give yourselves a break?  Stand up and take responsibility and then...wait for it...move on.  Think about it this way...Life is a big ol' school ground. We don't know everything at the beginning...we live it and learn as we go.  If you make a mistake on a math problem, do you wring your hands and cry for the rest of your life (unless you are me, the whole school quarter), or do you erase it and figure out how to correct it and move on?  Let's vote for the correct it and move on part. What is it you need to do that?  No, really, I am asking you a question.  You have to put some effort into this whole deal -- as in -- think it through.  The most amazing and wonderful thing happens when you face the regret head-on and take responsibility for it and fix it (if you can) and let it are free.  No more sadness, no more feeling like you are a bad person, no more snugglin' up to the bad feeling like it's a warm blankie.  You are free.  Imagine the relief, heck, imagine all the time and energy you will have to put into happiness or joy or new people or inspiration or creativity or...are you getting the idea?

You can wrap yourself in the stranglehold and twisted comfort of regrets or you can make the choice to open yourself up to living the life you really want., difficult, not really.  Look your little self in the eye (mirror is best) and give yourself permission to be whole.  It is not that scary.  You can do this...

With respect,