Monthly Archives: September 2014

Don’t Be Sorry…Be Different

“Don’t be sorry, be different.”

That was a phrase I used a fair amount toward the end of my marriage. There were a lot of apologies, and not a lot of behavior modification (aka: changes).

The phrase resurfaced recently as I was thinking about change for an upcoming book. What is it about change that can be so debilitating and scary? Why do some people embrace it while others would rather hide under a rock…in a cave…in winter…behind a glacier? I am curious.

Unexpectedly, that phrase popped back into my head — so I started thinking about it. It was then that I realized something very important:

Actual change is incremental and cumulative.

Change is not some sweeping statement followed by grand gestures. That rarely lasts. Rather, it’s little things, done incrementally, that add up to big differences.

To do a complete turnaround in behavior would be like going from 0 to 180-degrees in an instant. It’s not likely to happen, though it is possible. The probability margins increase, however, when change becomes deliberate in 5-degree increments.

I realize now, perhaps, that the phrase I used could have been heard as a request for something BIG to be done (the 180-degree shift). Upon reflection, I feel that what I was truly asking for were the 5-degree steps that show effort and investment, ultimately leading to cumulative lasting change.

So when we talk about change what we’re truly talking about is investment. Whether it is in our relationships, our health, our careers, or ourselves, change is most probable when we are willing to invest in the situation.

How to Live Better

It’s a simple concept that we complicate. How to live better is not rocket science, but it does involve some experimenting by trial and error in some ways. In the end, though, what it boils down to is this:

You can either live by default or live deliberately.

You can’t do both.

So, if you’d like to live better, it’s time to start looking at ways you can shift your default (aka: reactive) decisions into deliberate (aka: proactive) decisions. It really is that simple. Great change occurs in tiny steps and is based in everyday routine decisions. Simple doesn’t mean easy, but it also doesn’t have to be hard. It just needs to be deliberate.

Happy choosing! :)

D to the Rescue!

Every year around this time, I write a little reminder for those of you who, like me, have a little trouble with the decreasing sunlight in the northern hemisphere. Clinically known as “seasonal affective disorder (SAD),” I often refer to it as the ‘winter blues.’

It’s a common phenomenon for those who live in areas where the sun goes into hibernation as we head into autumn and winter. In fact, I saw a picture in National Geographic where one town in Norway installed mirrors on a ridge in order to capture sunlight and direct it into the town square for a period of time each day. (check it out ​here)

The residents stand out in the square, faces turned up into the reflected sun, just to get sunlight each day. It’s pretty cool. More importantly, it underscores the importance of Vitamin D for our mental/emotional health.

So, it’s time for this year’s reminder: go get your Vitamin D and start adding it back into your diet. It takes a few weeks to build up the levels needed to sustain you through the darkest months of the year. Have questions or concerns? Make an appointment to chat with your physician.

Want to read what I’ve written about it in the past? Check out my archived article ​here.

Speaking to Joy

Recently, I was speaking with a client that is venturing into the online dating world, and this came out of my mouth:

Find someone who speaks to your joy, not your fears.

So often in life we look for a mate who meets certain criteria, because it’s what we think we want or are told we want. We look for things like: successful, attractive, sense of humor, tall, etc. All of these things are great and not necessarily fear-based. But if we scratch beneath the surface just a little bit, they actually are. Here’s why:

All of these criteria are externalized to your joy. Therefore, the criteria themselves are based on some internal fear that you are experiencing for which you want someone else to fill the void. Another way to say that is:

When a desire is based in the energy of lack, rather than joy, we are setting ourselves up for future disappointment.

It’s an idea worth exploring, because nobody (nobody) can fill an internal void. What a partner CAN do, however, is help to expand your existing joy to where you end up filling the void yourself.

That’s what I mean by finding someone who speaks to your joy. Now, what does that look like?

If you think about people (friends, family, etc.) who already exist in your life and make your heart smile when you’re around them… that speaks to your joy. It’s not about external attributes. It’s about recognizing how someone makes you feel.

Therefore, the question isn’t:

  • Who are they?
  • What do they do? or
  • How do they look?

The question should always be:

How do I feel when I’m with them?

If you can answer that with a smile, you’re more than halfway there. :)

Living with Ease

This is a new-ish concept for me, or at least a new “label” for something I had already begun doing intuitively. So, what do I mean by

“Living with ease”…?

In our society, it seems that life has gotten rather busy. As one of my grad school professors teaches: being busy has become a sort of status symbol. We have learned to take pride in being busier than others. We have scheduled and pushed our families and ourselves to the point of illness, exhaustion, and dis-ease.

“Dis-ease” is a common term among the wellness community, and it’s SO accurate. Wellness is about ease… ease of living, of being in your body, of care, of love. Ease is a state of grace and homeostasis. It’s natural.

So, we’ve taken what is natural to us and systematically removed it from our lives.

Not sure what I’m talking about? Here’s one example of what dis-ease looks like in a very common way:

You set your alarm in the morning for the latest possible moment you need to wake up to get everything done and get out the door in a hurried fashion.

It’s only one example that may seem insignificant, but taken collectively with the myriad other examples, it adds up to a lifestyle of dis-ease. So, we need to ask the question:

What if you deliberately built moments of ease into your life?

Here’s an example of what moments of ease can look like:

  • Taking the time to consciously say “good morning” to a loved one, perhaps adding a hug or a kiss.
  • Waking up 10-15 minutes earlier in order to sip your favorite beverage in the morning, deliberately, and in a calm and ease-worthy manner, enjoying its flavors and sensation.
  • Saying “good night” in the same way I described saying good morning.

Saying “good night” is one of my favorite things. It’s a small gesture that has great significance for me. I couldn’t tell you exactly why, but it makes me smile to hear as I end my day and head to sleep. It takes less than 2 seconds, and it creates great ease before drifting off to sleep. What a gift!

It’s in these collective “moments of ease” that we create the life we imagine. Over time, with deliberate use, they add up to more than the sum of their parts. They imbue our lives with grace and love, filtering into all that we do and all that we are. Then one day we wake up and find that we are indeed living with ease.