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Fun Adventures With Intuition

Life is meant to be a fun adventure. Little children know this until it gets bred out of them: “Life  goes on long after the thrill of living is gone”  as the song goes. I don’t think it is supposed to be that way. If  life’s journey isn’t a fun adventure, then there are too many shoulds and musts and such running the show. People have  goals and accomplishing them takes an effort. But it ought to be fun too. Using intuition to guide your actions plays a significant role in making the journey fruitful as well as interesting and again, a fun adventure.  The trick is, which of your internal voices is  intuition? How does one develop intuition?

  Intuition feels calm: the “still small voice” we’ve all heard about.  But there is usually  tickle of joy in it. It can be insistent if you are in a life or death situation.  We all know the experience of intuition now and then, but  this voice can be elusive.  I have a friend who described it in terms of holding a conch shell next to your ear, and in the same way you will “hear” the ocean, you can hear your intuition. That sounds like a plan and I will have to try it sometime. Presently,  I look for an internal nudge coupled with a sense of wellbeing. Intuition and wellbeing go together.  But how do you get in touch with “it” reliably on a daily basis especially when life is so noisy?  When there is a decision to make there are competing internal voices as well.

It could be that there are certain areas of life in which you  already reliably are in touch with intuition. When my kids were little, I would sometimes have to shop for a friend’s birthday party gift with little clue to what the child might like and no young helper to assist in the purchase.  So I would go to the toy aisle and “feel” my way down it. More often than not the resulting purchase was a hit. I began developing my intuition and honing my intuitive sense with these smaller tasks with not so much at stake.  

Another exercise  that I have often suggested for having a fun adventure with intuition, is to make a regular date with yourself for an hour or two were intuition leads all choices during that time. I found this idea in the book  The Artists Way by Julia Cameron, although the details here may differ a bit. It is fun. It will strengthen and develop  your intuitive sense.  Here is how it works:

1. Give yourself a 1-2 hours all to yourself, no cellphones etc.

2. Get in your car, on your bike, on foot, whatever feels like the most fun way to have your adventure at the time.

3. Once on your way, every time you come to a stop sign or stop light or major intersection, ask yourself which way feel like the “right” way to go. This is done in a lighthearted way. There is after all no defined destination for this journey.

4.See where you end up! It could be the movie theatre, or a scenic spot or a shopping center or a park. wherever you end up, continue to follow the “which way seems best rule” by listening to intuition during the time alloted.

5. When your date is over examine the results. You will have fed your soul in some way. You may run into someone you’ve been thinking about but lost track of or just never have time to call. You might find information you were looking for or a particular item you have wanted to buy but unable to locate. You might come up with an insight or idea to solve a problem. It could be  you just have a really good time,  Its magic. And it develops your intuitive sense. 

My biggest result from this process was finding the lot where my house now sits. I had gone down the connecting street any number of times without making the right turn that brought me face to face with a wonderful lot I could afford. I had not seriously considered building before that moment. It ended up being doable as well.  Naturally,the results  are not always so momentous. I also found a citrus zester at the flea market once,  sat on a dock for an hour in the warm sun on another day and saw a pair of eagles another time. the results are as varied as your mindset and internal compass on a given day. Intuition will have your best interests in mind.

The most significant result of this practice by far was listening and recognizing the voice of intuition and coming to trust it. to further develop my ituition  has been well worth the effort and I had fun adventures in the process.  Try it, and let me know what happens. I would truly be interested.

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Never Regret

There are a lot of small things I just adore.  I can get immense pleasure from small things. the flip side is that sometimes I can make myself utterly miserable from a really small thing as well. Looking at a crack, that was what I was doing yesterday…. and proceeded to beat myself up a bit about a very small thing even though that is not  productive. A  hundred times or maybe even a thousand I have said to people, “What you focus on gets larger”.  I should listen to my own advice.

Figure out what you could have done differently, practice mentally, move on. That is what I want to do. The trick is talking  myself into doing just that. So here was a chance to practice reframing a small thing.

Get it In Perspective

 Meany me is a title I gave the part of myself that is overly self-critical.  It puts it in a more lighthearted context like the movie character that inspired the title.  I  imagine this character shaking his finger at me saying the mean things you might say to yourself when you make a mistake. It takes the edge off. This is a much better perspective. I really hate meany me and wasn’t fond of the character in the movie either. It really motivates me to do something else.

Reframe Still Further

Then it helps to think of something I am grateful for.  It helps to remember that maybe a missed opportunity was a good opportunity to miss and there will certainly be others. There are always others. It helps to remember what my best friend would say.  

Mental Rehearsal

 I can mentally replay my mistake with the better actions I wish I had made. When people do that it is much more likely they will actually do something different the next time a similar situation arises. The sting of the mistake makes it more likely I will remember to make the change as well. This doesn’t have to be realistic. It can be fanciful or silly at first if I am having a hard time thinking of a good solution.  I can play out lots of different ideas. It makes it all much more fluid. The better idea will arise from this process.

Once that is done, time to forgive myself  and relish the view, the improved one that results from letting go regrets from things I cannot change. So what was it that I got so wound up about? I missed a phone call. It was such a small thing. This embarrasses me. It was just I did not want to.  It was not a flood or a famine or the Phillies losing the playoff after having a winning season all year.  

One last thing:  I ran across this quote today.”Never regret. If  it is good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.” – Victoria Holt. Next time I plan to remember to check for messages when I get out of the tomb with no cell signal.

Four Ways To Reduce Overwhelm

There are what feels like 500 things to do. There is a list…somewhere, maybe on the kitchen counter. I could get totally focused on finding the list. That is the wrong path. A better idea  is to start cleaning something. If I do that, at least something  will at least get  done and I will  feel better,  assuming  I don’t get  interrupted . Unfortunately, the more important tasks remain to be completed so my stress level goes up. This has been the challenge. For me, if it isn’t the list it is finding my keys or my schedule book. When I lose track of these important items, I know I have hit overwhelm.

Once overwhelmed, your mind spins.  Even if you are doing something productive your inner chatter can continue raising your anxiety level or even escalate to panic mode. When your mind is anxious, your decision-making suffers. It is easy to get side tracked and feel as though you have been very busy accomplishing nothing or even worse, to  dissolve into inertia watching television or cruising the internet or even staring off into space. The reasons for overwhelm are individual. That being said, I hear the following reasons repeatedly.

There is just too much information. It gets impossible to make decisions with so much input.

Increased pressures at work: More is expected in less time due to all the wonderful time-saving tools we now have available, most of which are a double-edged sword.

Economic pressure. Its been a long time since there was a raise. While people are glad to have a job, refer back to reason number two. This gets even more gruesome when productivity standards are raised, and the ability to be creative seems to be reduced.

So what do you do to manage these pressures which seem unlikely to go away any time soon? It is time to reset.

1. Breathe. Stop a minute the next time you catch yourself worrying. Notice your breathing. Chances are it is shallow and high in your chest.  Deepen it. Notice the coolness of the air filling up your lungs. Notice the warmer temperature of the air when you exhale.  Just focus on how this feels. By the time you have accomplished 10 slow deep breaths you will feel more relaxed and less overwhelmed. Research has documented that breathing  at a rate of 8 full breaths a minute or less induces alpha waves in the brain, producing a more relaxed state.  Decisions made in this state are almost always better decisions. It starts a positive spiral.

 2.Take  breaks. Do not work through the breaks you are allowed in your workplace. It might feel virtuous or even necessary but you probably are not doing anyone a favor.  Research has also documented that people are actually more productive if they take breaks every two to three hours than if they work straight through.   If you spend most of your work day sitting, get up and move. If you spend most of your time standing or moving, take a seat. Get outdoors if you can. If you cannot, at least move to a window, or somehow find a change in scenery.  Look out to the horizon and change the focus of your thoughts to something pleasant that you are looking forward to. If you have not ever developed a mental vacation spot, design one. Take one of those mental vacations during break time. If you are a social being who wants to chat with someone, talk about something positive and non work related.

 3.  Get enough sleep. That means go to bed on time versus getting caught up reading or working or playing on the internet. For me it means to lie down in my actual bed, deepen my breathing and forget the day-which is easy on a good day. At the end of a not so good day, it means refocusing and letting the day go, since there is nothing that can reasonably be done but take care of myself by getting enough sleep.  Additionally it is a good practice to  deliberately turn your thoughts  towards gratitude. When I practice this, it alters my mood in a positive direction and that is what I want to go to sleep thinking about.  I am thankful for whatever I can be thankful for from the day just past. I am thankful that I can “redo“whatever happened, imagining a better choice and know that next time, I can make that choice.

 4.Reduce exposure to media. There is nothing quite so wonderful for adding to overwhelm as overexposure to media, especially “the news”. While it is true that to be a responsible citizen one would do well to stay informed of the happenings in the local community and  government, most of “the news”: is not really. Since the advent of 24 hour news channels we get a lot of opinion pieces and even whole shows that are largely opinion presented as “news” and a lot of repetition of negativity that people have no way of affecting in any immediate fashion. Chances are your internet browser also entices you to follow links to “must know” information that are lessons in marketing. Before you know it, way too much time has passed. Did you get the task accomplished that sent you to the internet to begin with? I changed my browser to the original Google search page to help me out with that one. Otherwise I may end up looking at a list of ten best and worst celebrity dress choices or what some pundit thinks of my football teams’ performance this year. Do I need to know that? Really?

 What if you practiced at least one of these four strategies to reduce overwhelm today? Chances are you will find your day running smoother and your outlook a little brighter.

On a good day, the list is where I usually keep it, the keys are on the hook, and the schedule book is in my computer bag where it belongs. On a good day, I manage to stay focused. On a good day, I have probably practiced  at least one of these four strategies that definitely reduce overwhelm, and so can you.

How much real influence do thoughts have on a person’s physical health? This is a question I have pondered and discussed with some of my friends. The following is opinion, and while I think my opinions are worth paying attention to, remember that is what I am presenting. Many would disagree with me. That being said…..

There are a panoply of answers to this question which all boil down to: it depends. Thoughts most certainly affect physical health. Upsetting thoughts can generate upset stomachs. Conflicts can create headaches. None of this is new information. Carried on chronically a negative mindset will most certainly result in poorer health. However the mechanism through which this occurs is varied. A depressed person walks around with chronic negative thoughts, affecting emotions and behavior. Such a person will often sleep and eat less well, weakening the body. Each body also has its “weakest link”, biologically. This link is often where a chronic illness will occur. Stress is the biggest factor. Stress is unavoidable. How one handles stress encompasses multiple factors such as body type, learned coping skills as well as a person’s belief system. Sugar pills can cure disease, which is why they are always included in research when new medications are tested.

A distracted person is much more likely to be in an accident which results in broken bones. The impact of a fall is the impact of a fall in the end, determined by overall body condition and so forth. Stress will again play a role in a person’s reaction to falling, and will affect the results of doing so.

The answer to this question is generally, “a lot”. The point of physical existence, part of the set up is the presence of physical challenges. The agreed upon rules of the physical plane, like gravity, affect everyone. However these rules can be bent and broken and worked around. “Laughter is the best medicine” is a saying that probably predates Norman Cousins curing cancer with it. Also the “biology of belief” is quite powerful. I never get sick. I get injured from time to time but have very little concern about catching colds and viruses. I mostly just don’t get them, unless I am really worn down, which would be stress in action. I believe this. My belief probably then motivates me to make different decisions, like making sure I take vitamins and such without even considering the connection between the two, besides right now when I am writing this. I am certainly considering it at this moment. Usually, it is just what I want to do, so I can get away with eating ice cream for dinner from time to time.

The Biology of Belief is also the title of a book by a gentleman named Bruce Lipton, if I am remembering correctly. I have heard about it have not read it yet. I would love to hear your opinion about it, if you have already checked it out.

~Marion

Serendipity

My first post was about starting a blog because “it would be a good idea”. I didn’t follow through for quite a while.  To get something done, there has to be a goal, an outcome that motivates you. If you are focused on a specific outcome, you are likely to follow through. If you are focused on the process and the effort it is going to take, Probably you won’t. All most people have to do is think about the last time they planned to exercise on a regular basis to get the flick on that. Think about wearing size 8 or a 32 inch belt equals motivation. Actually getting out to run or bike or go to the gym? You have to think about how good you will feel when you are done, not about the effort of going. 

So for a while I fell into the second category. Writing seemed like work. I wasn’t excited about sharing in this context. Catch me in my office connecting with an actual human being? I can get very excited. Helping overwhelmed parents figure out how to deal with their troublesome little one? That is a lot of fun! Teaching someone who is always worried to really and actually relax and see the results of that on a person’s face? That is magical. It would be good to share some of those moments with more people, to somehow translate the beauty of those moments of getting across to a person how some small adjustment in their point of view or their actions can change so much in the experience of satisfaction in a day. And there is so much beauty in the world. It is gorgeous more often than not.  I want to drink it in and share that.  It’s so much better than watching the news! So This is Marionsview: hopefully a little more than a pretty picture.

I got excited enough to open this account.  I  had it for a month with nothing written. I planned but did not act. I explored my motivation  until finally I recognized that perfectionism was keeping me silent. So finally I wrote anyway. The first two posts pretty much sucked. Maybe this is not so wonderful yet either, but practice  makes  improvement. When a person finally acts, even  if there are mistakes made, it will take that person closer to the goal, whatever it might be. So if you had a lousy day, remember that. If self-reflection is part of your daily routine at all, you  Now you know better what not to do tomorrow in some shape or form.

Today, I just happened to have time. The finny thing is, in deciding to connect this to Facebook, I ran across a post on the News Feed. One of my contacts posted a bout a book he wrote. It is a kindle book and available at a really, really reasonable price  on a topic I am interested in, business momentum. His name is Michael North, and the book is called Focus Into Action, in case that interests you too.

And guess what he uses as an example for his book? Blogging. There is all sorts of stuff about how to develop a blog, none of which I had ever thought of. I book marked those pages on my Kindle program  where I downloaded the book, another new thing for the day. What an example of Serendipity! I love it.

So I am here and have started a blog or perhaps it is a blop as encouraged by mentor types. This means that I have to learn new things. Technical things. I am sure none of this is all that difficult. However the frustration with such brings up  simmering irritation which is not really condusive for being happily creative. How does one actually pick a theme? I clicked on a couple that seemed nice. Nothing happened that I could tell. I uploaded a picture but cropping turned into an exercize in aggravation. So no picture yet. A post though, I will not leave without a post however short it is.