This week is our Independence Day holiday. I’ll be taking a long weekend up north to celebrate with family and take a long weekend break. So I have decided to take a holiday on writing here as well. My advice to you is to do the same.
If you are able to take a break, or take a vacation this summer, make the most of it. Whether you get some extra rest, enjoy some quality time with people you love or perhaps get out to see some fireworks, appreciate these fine summer days. Have a safe and happy weekend!
Much of the literature on happiness and habits refers to building routines that work for us and support us every day toward achieving our goals. I like to have a daily routine, especially in the morning.
The grounding and centering I achieve through regular routines of meditation and journal writing in the morning seems to have a lasting effect on my mood and overall happiness. My weekly “writing days” when I will post to WordPress have built up trust in my ability to create pieces on a consistent basis.
Every Sunday since October 2017 I have posted a haiku. This past weekend, I was at a 3-day yoga teacher training weekend Friday through Sunday. For 9-10 hours a day, we did yoga practices, learned new things, and explored many facets of yoga. It was amazing, and it was also physically and emotionally taxing.
On Saturday evening, I was pretty wiped out. The longest of the 3 days, it began at 8 and ended at 6. With 20 other students, a lot of dyad work, and a couple of teachers working with us, it was a LOT of people interaction. It pushed my capacity to the limit, and rather than writing haiku when I came home, I was wrung out to the point of exhaustion.
After I got home for the day, a tiny part of me said: “You still have not written your Sunday haiku yet; you can’t go to bed yet.” But the wiser higher mind said: “Turning on the computer and risking your quality of sleep is not a good idea. Get some rest.”
And thus, a streak which had continued for ~75 weeks was broken. While I felt a little sad about it, I also felt freed by it at the same time. It was a habit I had built up that gave me joy and practice at the art of haiku. It served me well for that time period. And now I am moving to a new phase of my life that requires a focus on different things, at least through my certification in September.
While I actually did think of a haiku on Sunday morning, during my savasana meditation at the end of yoga practice, I had no access to a computer. So it lived only in my mind. I was grateful to generate it for myself, even if it was not shared that time around.
Long live your streaks! And when they no longer serve you, let them go gracefully and with compassion for any inner compulsion you may have. This is freedom.
How many of you have “manuals” for how other people should behave?
Whether they are family members, or co-workers, or just other people encounter during your day, we tend to have “manuals” for how we want them to behave. Here are some of my example thoughts related to this principle:
“They shouldn’t talk about people in such a mean way.”
“He should not behave that way.”
“They should say something nice instead of always criticizing.”
Those are some negative “manual” thoughts that sometimes appear in my own head. But they are actually false! How do I know that? Because they DO talk about people, he DOES behave that way, and they DO criticize.
We have no control over others’ behavior. But sometimes we think “if only they would behave differently then we could be happy.” \
This is actually a position of powerlessness. When we realize that we can respond to people from our own cleaned-up thoughts about the situation, we free ourselves. We cannot control the world. (Those of us who are control freaks find this a little hard to accept sometimes.)
Separate out what a person is saying (or how they are acting) from the thoughts and interpretations in your head. Then you realize it is not related to you, it is more about THEM.
This does not mean you should be a “doormat” or that you should not make requests of them (like “please stop”). That is totally fine. But you have to accept that people will choose to behave however they behave. Sometimes you need to have proper boundaries if they are mistreating you.
But the only person who’s thoughts, emotions and actions you can manage are yours. This is incredibly liberating, the more you practice awareness of your own thoughts and feelings, the more you take back the true power in your life.
Is there anyone in your life that is bugging you because they are not following your manual? Consider whether it’s time to trash that manual. Thanks to Brooke Castillo for first teaching me this principal. It has been a game-changer.
I have been experimenting with different titles on my Linked In page lately and the results are fascinating.
Recently it occurred to me that “researcher” describes a lot of what I do best and still love to do – constantly learning and taking in new “data” while evaluating and coming up with theories about how to apply knowledge in new ways. It made me giggle when I described myself in a new way on my page. I also added my company name (which is a little generic right now, a place-holder for the freelance LLC). I suddenly I had a lot of congratulatory messages on the new job. Ha, I thought. I am just making this up,people!
No titles can ever encompass the totality of what makes you YOU in a professional or a personal sense. When you seek employment with a company, typically titles mean something specific, and have a particular job description that accompanies them.
When you are a freelancer, or are starting a company of your own, nobody tells you what title you can have. A lot of folks like the “grand” titles: CEO, President, Creator, Founder… I like those too. But they imply a lot of things that I just don’t care to embody in my new venture. I don’t plan to have a slew of employees, so they do not apply.
I landed on “Principal Researcher” (for the moment) because it reflects a large part of what I truly enjoy, and I like it better than the generic “consultant.” But there are so many other phrases that could describe what I like to do – Creative Director, Facilitator, translator of cultural norms, etc. The “glue that holds a team together…” But since I am Minnesotan and we are taught not to brag, I’ll move right along. 😉
What’s great is that I get to make this up as I go along, and I can change it when I wish. There are NO rules! That’s liberating. I like to defy definition. Of course, I am more comfortable with ambiguity than most, so that works for me.
What about you? What title would you give yourself, if you could just make one up?