Chapter 27: Imagine the People in Your Life…

wrinkled-old-hand-holding-baby-hand-400px

I had problems fitting the whole title of this chapter on the title line, so here it is in full: Imagine the People in Your Life as Tiny Infants and as One-Hundred-Year-Old Adults.

As I read the title of this chapter with curiosity, I thought, “Now what does this have to do with stressing less, not sweating the small stuff, and living a life of peace and harmony?”

Plenty!

Our author, Richard Carlson, explains that he had used this technique for many years to help defuse the oh so human feelings of irritation toward other people. Perfect! I feel feelings of irritation ALL THE TIME! I’m confessing here that some people annoy me. . . really annoy and irritate me a lot of the time. They may not know it or maybe they do, as I’m not very good at hiding my inner emotions.

For this particular exercise, we are going to have to use our imaginations in a way we thought we never would. We will have to “remove” the irritating person as we know them presently, and shrink them down to tiny infants or imagine them as old people about to croak. (Sorry for my lack of sensitivity)

First he asks us to picture those people who truly irritate us, or make us feel angry, as infants. Tiny creatures with tiny features, all innocent and helpless. Little babies that cannot help but make mistakes. Visualizing those irritating people as babies, reminds us that we all were at one time, a little infant. Now fast forward and imagine that same person (or people) as being one hundred years old and in the last stages of their life. Looking into worn out eyes with a soft smile that suggests a bit of wisdom and the admission of mistakes made, we are once again reminded that each us will (hopefully) reach a ripe old age and will need the compassion of those whom we are now in their care.

From cradle to grave there will be many stages in our lives when we will need to provide or receive compassion. Our goal is to acquire perspective and more wisdom as we go through life and the use of this technique will help us to harbor less negativity toward others.

What I want to know is, “Isn’t there a strategy to get people to stop being so irritating and annoying and why do I have to do all the work?”

Practicing “Imagine the People in Your Life as Tiny Infants and as One-Hundred-Year-Old Adults” will definitely be a conscious effort for me. Irritation comes so quickly, that taking the time to envision babies and one hundred year old people will be a monumental undertaking for me. Most times it IS children and old people whom I’m irritated with, so I’m going to put all my energy in motion to master this particular strategy.

Perhaps someone is imaging me as a tiny infant or a one hundred year old person. Good grief!

The Butterfly Effect

THIS WEEKS ADVENTURE ASSIGNMENT

Guess what it is? Read the title…

 

 

Set Aside Quiet Time, Every Day

CHAPTER 26: Set Aside Quiet Time, Every Day

Tranquility

Tranquility

This is a great chapter because I’ve got this one already accomplished! I do take time everyday to have my quiet time. On most days, I begin with a nice long walk between 7 and 7:45 a.m., and that is where I find peace and solitude. I use this time to pray, to think and to breath in the clean air. Breathing is important, and when I inhale a deep breath, I try to recognize the fragrance of the pine needles, new mown hay, ferns, moss, and yes even dirt. All these smells play a role in enjoying my time outdoors and assist in giving me a “scents” of peace. (Pun intended).

In this chapter, Richard Carlson, related his own personal experience about carving out time for himself. He was an early riser, unusually early, but found that 4:30 a.m. was the perfect time of day for him. As I read his words, I felt as though he was stressing this particular lesson so that his readers would understand just how important this time for yourself. In quiet and in solitude, this time is a healing balm for the psyche.

There are many different ways to carve out this time. Walking, taking a nice long bath, meditating, yoga, or just sitting still looking out a window are the tools that help reduce stress, possibly lower blood pressure and aid in preparing for the next part of your day. He even mentioned that having quiet time to work is also beneficial. Enjoying the quiet, if only for 10 minutes is a vital part of your life. I agree that for me this time each day is vital. Without it, I can tell the difference, and maybe those closest to me do also???

Recently I thought that I had a bad case of indigestion. It worsened throughout the evening and then pain set in. By 1:00 a.m., I was shaking my husband from his sleep and said it was time to go to the ER. MANY hours later, I had my appendix removed! The reason that I am sharing this is not for sympathy and get well wishes, (I’m quiet back to normal now) but as I was laid up in bed, on pain killers and sleeping around the clock, and as my family peaked in on me to bring cold beverages, medication and a lite meal, I felt a sense of losing my normalcy. My husband was walking the dogs every morning and afternoon. I was not able to meditate or pray. The work piling up on my desk had me worried that I would never catch up. I felt guilty for not having thanked God for the care that I received and the healing that was taking place. My mind and body were not functioning normally, and I had to remind myself that I would get back to my routines, but I also had to take it slowly, so as not to land back in the hospital! The effect from the anesthesia and the medication had my brain in a cloud and I didn’t like it one bit. This kind of down time was killing me, or was it healing me? Sometimes, God knows best, and maybe Barb did need to put the brakes on if only for a little while.

On about my 6th day after surgery, I ventured out to the back field with the dogs (who were most happy to have mommy back) and did a very ginger stroll about the filed. “Okay not so bad”, I thought, but when I looked up at the steep hill I would need to climb to get back to the house I was terrified. It wasn’t so bad going down, but looking at that incline now made me rethink if I was trying to do too much too soon. So I held my breath, gave myself a quick pep talk and took it one step at a time. “Breath girl breath”, I told myself. Amazingly, I reached the summit (feeling like I climbed Everest) and was still breathing! The next day I ventured back down the hill, around the field and into the woods. Each day I gained a little more strength until I was finally able to take the big hike that I’m accustomed to each morning. Holding my husband’s hand on that first hike, he looked into my eyes and said he was happy that I was back! I still have to be careful about how much weight I lift for the next few weeks, but, I think that vacuum is still waaay to heavy as is taking out the garbage. Some things take time….

THIS WEEKS ADVENTURE ASSIGNMENT

The Butterfly Effect

Your assignment this week will be to set aside quiet time, every day. For some of you this will be a commitment, a change in routine and maybe a little scary. Like climbing a hill after surgery, you can do it! This is your time and the reward will be a rejuvenated self, ready to tackle Chapter 27!

Please let me know how you are doing with your quiet time or any chapter that you’ve been working on. I’d love to hear back from you!

Barb

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Labor of Love

 

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Erin & John McKay
June 7, 2014

My readers might think that I have been on a hiatus, but I assure you that I have not been on a vacation. I have been on a mission, a labor of love. I have been in labor three times. The birth of my son, the birth of my daughter, and more recently, the birth of my daughter’s wedding!

I have neglected the Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff Adventure and blogging in general, but I have incorporated many of the strategies to meet my goals of living a less stressed life.  I realize that even tho’ I’ve taken a considerable break, our author, Dr. Carlson, is whispering in my ear, “Don’t sweat the small stuff Barb, it’s going to be okay.”

Remember that chapter about the In Box? Well, not only was the In Box overflowing, but the Out Box was cranking away at lightning speed. What to do when everyone and everything demands your personal attention? You give yourself permission to step back and tackle the demands at hand in order of their priority. For me my top priority is family.

After my last post, I had 2 months…2 MONTHS to prepare for our daughter’s June wedding. As a caterer, we (no my husband) decided that we would cater the food. How is it a caterer cannot call another caterer? I’ll tell you why…EGO! I decided, by taking my own advice and following the Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff strategies for a less stress, more enjoyable life, that I would not let his decision frazzle me too much. As long as he would take TOTAL control of the food preparation, cooking and staff, I would go with the flow. So with the catering taken care of I now faced the daunting task of turning an eighty year old country club pavilion, into a thing of beauty, not only for the reception, but for the ceremony as well!

From my youth I remember the pavilion as the center of many an outdoor community affair, but after decades of neglect it was showing wear and tear with just a glimpse of a more opulent time. So why did we select this venue you might be asking yourself. Well for several reasons. First and foremost was the location. One and a half miles from our home and two miles from our restaurant. With breathtaking, sweeping views of valley and mountains, a beautifully manicured golf course, and plenty of parking, the semi-outdoor building offered shelter (in case of bad weather), tons of room, clean bathrooms and was easily accessible for our out-of-town guests. Oh, and most importantly, we could cater there without having to use the country club’s caterer. Perfect!

If I had $10.00 per hour for every hour that I spent online looking for the appropriate theme, decorations, flowers, classy but disposable dinnerware, decorating ideas and so on, well, I’d have several hundred dollars…and my eyes would not still be bleeding from staring at the laptop.

What I finally came up with was to create an indoor garden within the cavernous structure, and because there were many birds flying and chirping about, I figured that they would blend right in with the theme. I called a local landscaper, Ed Kopec from Edwards Landscaping, who just happens to rent advertising billboard space on our restaurant property. With fingers crossed, I pitched a proposal to him that perhaps, and only if he were in agreement, that I would swap advertising rent for his landscaping services. Much to my amazement, and as I held my breath, he was more than happy to make the deal! We set a meeting date and met on a very chilly spring morning to survey the area. Ed thoughtfully brought his designer, who also just happen to have interior design experience and they carefully measured and discussed what they could do to create a “partition of greenery” to separate the “chapel” from the dance floor and dining areas. They would also landscape the area around where the entryway canopy would be erected. They told me the names of the flora and fauna that they would be using and asked if that was satisfactory to me. Satisfactory? Anything I thought, anything to turn this sows ear into a silk purse! My heart leapt with joy! Another turn of luck happened when the “powers that be” decided to paint the towering ceilings, build an attractive wall to hide the kitchen facility and give the place a sprucing up. Too bad the new shades didn’t arrive, but at least the old battered ones were removed.

Next, the florist. Heather was a doll. She quickly captured what my daughter and I were trying to create for the wedding. Lovely varieties of soft colored flowers and greenery in vases that I had made from wine bottles. (Don’t ask). I thought, if I can save a buck or two on vases, why not? My friend, another Ed, who owns a glass and tile business  quickly cut the necks from the bottles and voila!, the repurposed bottles were now country vases…at no charge! Heather arranged for an isle runner, designed and prepared large bouquets on pedestals to flank either side of the altar, boutonnieres for the groom, best man, ushers, fathers, and corsages for the mothers and grandmothers. My daughter’s and grand daughter’s bouquets looked like a creations from a Martha Stewart wedding magazine, and we couldn’t have been more pleased.

Other friends also chipped in. One provided lanterns with candles, so that saved me another buck or two. Another friend from childhood baked the cake for the ceremonial cutting and a groom’s cake as well. Two ladies from our catering staff made the fresh strawberry shortcakes for dessert. I had an all volunteer crew step in to help set up the afternoon prior to the event! They set the linens on the table, placed the candles, set the silverware and helped unload the rented crystal. With the seating in place, tables adorned with linens and candles, the bar areas set up like mini-pubs, the landscaping crew busy at work, and the chapel in place, the dream was now becoming a reality!

Entry

Gosh, I almost forgot the sound system! I called on the skills and resources of another good friend, John, a retired electrician, who lugged in and set up the sound system for the ceremony that included the keyboard piano, the microphones, amplifiers and monitors for the minister, judge, readers and guitarist! Wow, what an amazing feat. He also lugged it all out after the ceremony was over. God bless John.

I would like to step back and talk a bit more about the indoor garden. The afternoon before the wedding was D-day. Deliveries and set up. Ed’s crew showed up on time with four or five large dump trucks loaded with trees, shrubs, flowers, mulch, equipment and so much more. They patiently waited for the owner to arrive to begin instructing them on their individual duties. Ed was a tad late, and apologized that he was held up at another job. I said no worries, because it looked like they were also going to another site after completing our project. Ed said, “Oh, no. This is all for you!” My eyeballs instantaneously sprang with tears; tears of disbelief, joy and gratitude! The men unloaded tons of materials and went right to work. Mats were placed first, then the potted trees, roses, flowers and shrubs. Next, everything was watered, the mulch was mounded around each planting and decorative stone pavers were placed end to end to create the lovely garden path and partition. They did the same at the entryway, and now the magic for this long anticipated wedding was set!

Garden

With all the activity, details, and emotions, sometimes wedding days can become a blur, but not this one. It was the most joy-filled, beautiful, blessed day that I have ever witnessed. The florist finished her decorating at the pavilion, delivered our flowers to our home, and our stylist, Trisha, (a former employee) arrived to do our hair and makeup. Everything was on track. Months and hours of preparation and planning was now complete. Our catering staff was doing their thing, the bartenders and DJ were setting up, sound system and sound check completed, the bus to shuttle the guests was making its rounds from the hotels, and the men were suiting up, all handsome and happy. The bride, well the bride was a vision of beauty. I cannot say more.

My bother, an ordained Presbyterian minister and the groom’s father, a retired New York supreme court justice, co-officiated the service. Every reading, song and message carefully thought out and personal. Once the ceremony commenced, and as I looked around, I saw many tears of emotion as guests dabbed their eyes. “Damn, I thought, I forgot tissues!” Oh well…Don’t sweat the small stuff.

One last note. My deepest appreciation goes out to one very special lady who held my hand, or should I say we held each other’s throughout the whole process. My deepest gratitude to Cece from Irem Country Club for going above and beyond what her formal job title is. Without her diligent oversight, I couldn’t have pulled this off.

Kisses from AuntiesSo you see, sometimes it does take a village. It takes friends, family and associates with special talents, skills, resources and love. Lots of love.

 

Mother of the bride

Mother of the bride

It’s good to be back!

Barb

Next week we’ll resume the adventure and assess how far we’ve come!

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 25: Smile at Strangers, Look into Their Eyes, and Say Hello!

Smile at strangers, look into their eyes, and say hello!

Hello stranger!

I can’t see you sitting here at my laptop, but in my mind’s eye you are the person walking towards me with much on her mind. You seem in a hurry and a little preoccupied but I will do my best to catch your eye, smile and say hello. Maybe I’ll say, “Nice day!” Maybe I’ll get a reaction, nod of the head, or not. I might hold the door for you, offer to help load the groceries into your car, offer you the seat next to mine, or allow you to enter or exit a building before I do. My friendly attempt, even though you don’t know me, is to give you validation as a person, my fellow human being.

Perhaps this makes you uncomfortable or you’re too shy to look back at me, but that’s okay. Maybe you’re not used to being noticed, or perhaps you are mistrusting or scared, but I’ll smile and give you the courtesy of a “hello”. 

What I’m guessing here in this chapter, is that greeting a total stranger and moving outside our comfort zone is part of the process of seeing our similarities with each and not our outward differences. Appearances can be deceiving and you “shouldn’t judge a book by its cover”, or so I’ve been told, so what’s the harm in a little twinkley eye contact and a warm hello?  

This is one of the shortest chapters in our continuing adventure, but there is a purpose behind everything. Sometimes we have to do the work to find out what it is.

So give this your best effort this week. Look a stranger in the eye, smile and say hello, or hi, or beautiful morning…That’s it. That’s the Adventure Assignment for this week and don’t forget “The Butterfly Effect”!

The reward should be a happier you. Happier inside and out!

Stress Less,

Barb

 

CHAPTER 24: Spend a Moment Every Day Thinking of Someone to Thank!

Spend a moment every day thinking of someone to thank. Sounds easy doesn’t it? We say thank you to the server at the restaurant and we even leave a tip to show our appreciation! We say thank you to the clerk that helps us find what we are looking for in the store, the person who services our car, and on it goes. But, as I read though this chapter, being thankful at the moment, is one thing, being grateful and having a heart of gratitude are two different things.

You might be thinking, “Well, that’s sometimes hard to do Barbara! Someone scratched my car in the parking lot. A phone call made me late for an appointment! My kids have me running in all directions, my boss is a jerk and I didn’t get enough sleep last night!” Sometimes it’s easy to let the momentary irritations take center stage so that our feeling of gratitude go out the window. So how then do we get our mind and hearts centered on our sense of gratitude?

Our author asks that we  try to begin our day thinking of someone to thank, and when we do that, many people will come to mind. Those closest to us, who we may sometimes take for granted, and those who we encounter as we progress through our day. He suggests that thanking a “higher power”, or in my case, God, for the gift of life itself or for the beauty of nature brings a sense of peace.

As you go about your day and travel throughout the community, make a mental note of those who extend themselves in a helpful manner and then take the time to thank them!  Try to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts of gratitude.

Allow me to quote Richard Carlson. “What this exercise reminds me to do is to focus on the good in my life.” He continues, “It may seem like an awfully simple suggestion, but it really works! If you wake up in the morning with gratitude on your mind, it’s pretty difficult, in fact almost impossible, to feel anything but peace.”

I would like to add one more ingredient to his simple recipe. Try ending each day with a moment of gratitude. Instead of counting sheep, count your blessings. There have to be a few that come to mind. Some people keep a gratitude journal and some work their thoughts of gratitude into their prayers.

As we continue to journey on the Don’t Sweat Adventure, we are learning and practicing methods that will put us on a path to a less stressful existence; a path of peace of mind while putting chaos aside. We are learning to choose to think and react differently. We are “letting others have the glory”, realizing that ” life isn’t fair”, and asking ourselves “will this matter a year from now”. In our new toolbox we are replacing our negative thinking with thoughts that focus on gratitude for our blessings and for those people who add value to our lives with their kindness and willingness to help us when we need it.

Last weekend I attended a women’s retreat; part of a of the “Ladies of the Lake” rejuvenation weekends, that allows the attendees to rest, relax, and rejuvenate, while reconnecting with friends and spirituality. While there are scheduled activities to participate in, each person decides what she wants to engage in, and if the whole weekend is spent reading, writing, knitting, walking around the lake or resting on a bed, that’s okay too! An added bonus is that all our meals were prepared! We were pampered with manicures, pedicures, massages, and a “mocktail reception”. But most of us attend to further our spiritual journey and to learn how our existence, our struggles and achievements, our life experiences are a common thread that winds through each of us. It is a supportive, caring environment to nurture who we are and to appreciate what makes us special. Our theme this time was centered around the book, “The Cup of Our Life“, by author, Joyce Rupp. The retreat organizers had 25 totally different mugs created by a local potter to give to each lady, that represents how our lives are uniquely individual. We discussed the Empty Cup, The Cluttered Cup, The Cup of Boundaries, The Cup Filled, The Chipped Cup, and the Cup of Blessing as we closed out our weekend. The take away from this weekend for me was, that I discovered that I am still a work in progress; a beautiful soul seeking to become the best she can be. There are many who I will meet on my journey in this life, who will give something of themself that touches me in a positive and joyful way. . . and that is something to be grateful for!

 THIS WEEKS ADVENTURE ASSIGNMENT

Spend a moment every day in gratitude!

 

 

CHAPTER 23 ~ Experiment With Your Back Burner

 

Simmering on the back burner

Another tool in our Stress Less tool belt is learning the technique to “experiment with your back burner”. I will admit that I never heard of this particular method as a way to solve a problem, without really thinking about it that is. Reading further through this short chapter, I learned that you can almost “trick” your mind into finding resolution to a problem or situation, while keeping busy with something else. Ingenious! Our author’s analogy is to imagine a the back burner of a stove, with a pot of ingredients simmering away and getting tastier by the minute, while you are busy doing something else. “Often”, he states, “the less you interfere, the better the result.” If we imagine that our mind has a back burner, or a special compartment where we can keep our list of problems, facts, variables and solutions, and let them “simmer” a while, you will eventually (and with less stress) find the solution or conclusion to what’s bugging you.

I have found that some problems and issues cannot be resolved over night, especially if they involve others, like our children, parents, co-workers, etc. You get the idea. Sometime you just have to occupy or distract yourself with something else while the back burner of your brain does the work. You know that you will revisit the situation or whatever is troubling you, but for the moment you can give it a rest. I’m sure you’ve heard people say, “I’ll have to sleep on it.” Not only are they using the back burner, but they are avoiding making a decision in haste, that can be costly in more ways than one!

I have found this to be true for me when I am trying to recall something. A person’s name for instance. Sometimes I go through the alphabet letter by letter, (sometimes adding a vowel after the consonant) and if I can’t remember by the time I get to the letter “Z”, I say, “ah, screw it, it will come to me later.” and…it usually does. Recall can be tricky sometimes if we try too hard to remember. Words may fail us, faces perplex us, and the all too familiar will elude us, but only temporarily!

Using the back burner is not permission to procrastinate or to put off the inevitable. Dr. Carlson explains, “while you do want to put your problems on your back burner, you don’t want to turn the burner off. Instead, you want to gently hold the problem in your mind without actively analyzing it.”

Okay, I can do this and perhaps I have been doing this without conscientiously knowing what I was doing, or that there was such a technique! A simple method that will help solve problems and will greatly reduce the stress and effort in your life! Isn’t that why we are here and practicing the Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff philosophy; to stress less and enjoy life more?

The Butterfly Effect

THIS WEEKS ADVENTURE ASSIGNMENT 

First, locate your back burner. Second, the next time an issue, problem or situation arrises that requires resolution or a decision, put the back burner to use. Third, let it simmer. Fourth, bring it off the back burner and ask yourself if you have figured it out. Last, report back here during this next week with a progress report. I am anxious to see if this technique has been useful and beneficial to you!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all you Irish (or Irish for today) and we’ll meet again right here next week!

Stress Less,

Barb

Hello and welcome! If you are new to this blog site, or to The Don’t Sweat Adventure, please click here.
Once your curiosity is satisfied, and are ready to begin, then move to the first post on May 1st.

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Chapter 22: “Life Isn’t an Emergency”

 

Winter never ends

Winter is a time to rest and restore, for Springtime will be here soon enough.

Life isn’t an emergency, but there are emergencies in life and we need to differenciate between the two. I’ve come to the realization that I’m not a blogger, at least not in the true sense of the word. I am a hobby-blogger and yes, I just made that up. I don’t blog daily and I don’t blog for money. If I did, I wouldn’t have a crumb to eat in the house. So what is a hobby-blogger? A hobby-blogger is a person who has spurts of  inspiration, but not a desire to do the necessary work of a professional blogger. A hobby-blogger likes to write and share information, comment on other blogs and in general blogs as the spirit moves her. Thus, my one month hiatus from blogging. As I look back at my 2 plus year history in blogging, I have seen an ebb and flow and I have watched the tide come and go…

Life isn’t an emergency and neither is my writing or blogging. I don’t approach it in that manner. I approach it as an enjoyable pastime not a job. So this particular chapter is apropo for me and the timing is perfect! Remember the “In Basket” from Chapter 6? (No, well go back and re- read it.) My in basket will always be full, but it’s my out basket that is more important to me. What am I taking out and sharing and what part of myself am I giving to others? That’s what is important, and more importantly, that is what’s rewarding!

Our author points out that “We take our own goals so seriously that we forget to have FUN along the way, and we forget to cut ourselves some slack.”

1slack

 adjective \ˈslak\

: not stretched or held in a tight position

: not busy : lacking the expected or desired activity

: doing something poorly because you are not putting enough care or effort into it.

I have my own deffinition: slack/verb.  CUTTING ONESELF A BREAK!

I’m not slacking off, but mearly allowing an adjustment in my approach to life and my priorities. I’ve taken myself off the clock and redefined my goals. I hope I’m not #3 in the above deffinition according to Webster.

Only 22 chapters into our adventure together and I realized that the urgency or emergency of weekly blogging, posting on Facebook and constant Twitter-ing was adding pressure to my days and creating a no fun atmosphere.

Me: “Dr. I’m so stressed. I spend hours online keeping up with all the social media. Then I have to rush through my mail, my  bookwork, housework, together time with my spouse and kids. I’ve lost track of my friends from church and I feel guilty and miserable about almost everything. I just feel that my life is out of control!”

Dr.: “So Barbara, why do you allow these things to take priority in your life?”

Me: Pause and sigh…”I, I don’t know. I thought that I was staying young, keeping up and increasing my skills.” I suppose that I think that it’s important to do it all.” “Am I wrong?” Sigh...

Dr.: “Are you?” (Damn Dr.’s, always turning their questions back to you to search for the answers!) “I guess I’m not wrong, but maybe just going in the wrong direction.” “For me that is.” “I shouldn’t compare myself to others, and then feel like a failure”. “A tired, stressed out failure…”

Dr.: “Precisely!”

Me: “That’s it?” “You are agreeing with me?” “You don’t have anyhing else to offer?”

Dr.: “Barbara, you have so clearly stated what’s wrong, and you have prescribed the solution to your problem.” “Life isn’t an emergency.” “Your life is how you make it.” “Create your emergencies, or create your joy.” “It’s up to you!”

Me: Sigh of relief…“I guess all I had to do was give myself permission to slack.” “Give myself permission to enjoy my hobby-blogging?”

Dr.: “Go for it, and make good memories along the way!”

Well, there you have it. Life isn’t an emergency after all…

~ THIS WEEKS ADVENTURE ASSIGNMENT~

SLACK, AND DO IT WITH GUSTO!

I might be back next week, or maybe not. I might be banging on my congas or learning a new song to play. I might bake those fattening cookies, stay in my jammies or pull something else off my back burner. It’s my choice and it’s your’s too!

 

 

CHAPTER 21: Imagine Yourself at Your Own Funeral

YOUR NAME HERE

Imagine yourself at your own funeral. YIKES! What a thought to start my day, and to return to the Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff Adventure blog! Tho’ I have to ponder that maybe beginning at the end is a good place to start. So close your eyes and picture yourself floating above your grave, or Urn, or your choice of venue for eternal rest, and take in the view. During your service, do you see your friends, family and co-workers gathered around, dressed in dark clothes, dark sunglasses, sniffing back running noses and wiping the tears away while holding each other for support? Good. You were a beloved person in their lives. Or, were you merely a blimp on the radar, not having really lived life; keeping to yourself and happily minding your own business while ignoring the opportunities around you to serve and make a difference?  Did you sweat over too many “small stuffs?” Did you just say “Bah Humbug?”

I am going to take a little poetic license here and assume my readers are of the mind that we transition from our human form on earth to our spirit form in heaven or other level of being. Our energy here in our mortal bodies transcends to yet a new beginning and hopefully, we take something valuable from our experiences here on earth and put them to better use in the hereafter! Like the angel, Clarence, in “It’s a Wonderful Life”, maybe we have to earn our wings???

Chapter 21 is a brief chapter that offers a grand look into the past and into the future. Dr. Carlson states that “Imagining yourself at your own funeral allows you to look back at your life while you still have the chance to make some important changes.” While we are probably squeamish about visualizing our own death, “the process of doing so will remind you of the kind of person you want to be and the priorities that are most important to you.”

You can open your eyes now. So there you have it. Short and sweet, or maybe not so sweet. What I want you to take away from this exercise is the fact that you still have the time, chance, and opportunity to make some important changes. Changes that will impact your health, your well-being, relationships, and your ability to adapt and change for the good! What changes are you willing to make so that you will be that dear departed, beloved soul?

 

Pillow poetry

 THIS WEEKS ADVENTURE ASSIGNMENT

Imagine yourself at your own funeral ~ Now write your obituary

PS: I totally flunked the last chapter, but I did manage to write some lovely thoughts on my Christmas cards! Happy New Year and see you next week…

Hello and welcome! If you are new to this blog site, or to The Don’t Sweat Adventure, please click here.
Once your curiosity is satisfied, and are ready to begin, then move to the first post on May 1st.

An InLinkz Link-up

CHAPTER 20: Write a Heartfelt Letter…once a week

I know it’s been a while…

Write a heartfelt letter. What a great idea! I love to write, but not everyone does. Does texting count? Texting is only one way of how so many of us communicate these days. We have broadened our reach, but narrowed the intimacy that comes with a hand written or typed personal letter. We  post our thoughts and photos, opinions, politics and passions on Facebook. We post our interests to Pinterest, but, what about sitting down and writing an old-fashioned, thought-filled, letter? A letter that shows that you are thinking about another person. A letter that recalls the wonderful moments that you have shared over time. Our “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff” author, suggests that you can write a letter to someone you don’t even know, but someone whom you admire, and (here is the best part)… you don’t even have to mail it! 

“The purpose of the letter is very simple: to express love and gratitude.” says Dr. Carlson. 

When Richard Carlson was alive and writing the Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff series, and when his philosophy was just taking off, we were in a different world. Seven years have passed since his untimely death, and in that time the internet has taken off, offering new social websites, with new means of communication that are being hatched each day. We can go faster and further than ever before and in the blink of an eye, we press the send button and into the cloud it goes!

With all that technology at our fingertips, I realized that this is what makes this week’s adventure so important. We  actually have to sit down and compose our thoughts, feelings and emotions, putting them onto paper (or into MS office). We can use our PC, laptop, tablet or notebook. What ever your means, written or typed, it is your choice. I’ll be honest, with so many fonts available, my Macbook makes reading my writing much easier for others than my hand written scribble. What matters MOST is the sentiment; honest, authentic, with a dash of love and gratitude thrown in for good measure!

Dr. Carlson wrote or co-authored over 20 books. His life’s purpose was to help people slow down, overcome stress and enjoy life more. So, for my first letter, I am writing to him (in heaven).

Dear Dr. Carlson,

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Barb and I have created a blog to keep your legacy alive by sharing your book and Don’t Sweat strategies (including some of my own thoughts and experiences), with others. I’m  writing to you because I’m glad that you felt it important enough to write about your methods to make my life better. With each chapter, I am practicing those steps that bring me closer to my goal of stressing less and enjoying life more. I grateful that you shared your life’s passion with so many!  

Best regards,

Barb Roberts

PS: I’m looking forward to reading more of your works!

So there it is. Simple and from the heart.

The Butterfly Effect
The Butterfly Effect

 THIS WEEKS ADVENTURE ASSIGNMENT

Find a moment to write a heartfelt letter to someone who means the world to you, or write a note to someone who you would like to recapture a friendship with. It’s totally up to you who you decide to write to, but the act of sitting down to write  (or email) helps to fill YOUR life with gratitude and will certainly brighten someone’s day! Excuse yourself if you can’t manage to write one letter each week, but try to get a letter out there as frequently as possible. This is a great time of year to start letter writing, so make it a new resolution! Your letter will create another “butterfly effect”. You may have started something… just imagine getting a letter back!

Hello and welcome! If you are new to this blog site, or to The Don’t Sweat Adventure, please click here.
Once your curiosity is satisfied, and are ready to begin, then move to the first post on May 1st.

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CHAPTER 19: Lower Your Tolerance to Stress

STRESSED OUT!

 

Lower your tolerance to stress…easier said than done. I thought that we are supposed to raise our tolerance to stress! You know, take on more and handle more. This is a very appropriate time of year to identify the stressors in your life and to practice techniques that are designed to help you lower your tolerance to stress. As we move through the holidays and into a bright new year, I am looking forward to increasing my knowledge and insight about not sweating the small stuff, enjoying life more and stressing less!

There are days when I feel that I can handle a lot of stress, then there are days that I can come to a boil in an instant. Some things are easier to tolerate, while others cause an immediate reaction that may not be so pretty. So what does the Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff philosophy recommend? What can I learn in chapter 19 that will help put stress in its place?

First let’s make a list of what our stressors are. Mine may be different from yours and we might have a few in common. Pull out a piece of paper and pen and let’s do this together. If you want to make this a more fun and less stressful exercise, use different colored ink or colored pencils to color code your stress items. Red might be high stress and black might be the everyday common stress. This is not a scientific project, but might help pinpoint what priority you are giving stress in your life.

Here goes…

  1. Work – My work consists of handling our business bookkeeping and record keeping, interacting with customers, employees and family.
  2. Family – Everything from a divorced adult son and all its complications, a daughter with serious health conditions and her upcoming wedding, an aging mother in law and all her issues, to my wonderful husband with whom I work and manage our businesses and his active never-ending outdoor activities while attempting not to piss me off!
  3. Writing, blogging, playing guitar and singing – Yes, even these relaxing activities can add a layer of stress as I try to satisfy my personal goals and engage my  creative side. These things are to be my pleasure, but sometimes they become like another job.
  4.  Technology - Keeping up with smart phones, computer software, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, on and on…Constantly  being connected is stressful and an imposition.
  5. Pets – Our dogs drive me crazy and often need as much attention as a 2-year-old. They have their own unique way of making their wants and needs known, plus my husband I have to plan our outings and vacations around pet needs :-(

I’ll stop at 5 because that is enough for this blog post. There may be more, but I’m sure that they fall somewhere in the categories above.

Dr. Carlson points out: “What you want to start doing is noticing your stress early, before it gets out of hand. When you feel your mind moving too quickly, it’s time to back off and regain your bearings. You’ll find that when you catch yourself getting too stressed out – early, before it gets out of control – your stress will be like the proverbial snowball rolling down the hill. When it’s small, it’s manageable and easy to control. Once it gathers momentum, however, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to stop.”

Do we want our emotions and stress rolling and gaining momentum like a snowball? Do we want to heap on more stress to see if we can “handle” it? So, what can we do to learn to lower our tolerance to stress? First learn to recognize it, as pointed out in the paragraph above. Next, back away from it (if possible), take a walk, get a glass of water, make a cup of coffee, do some “Planking” and “reevaluate what’s important rather than power through everything on your list.”

Look for alternatives. Are there some items that you can delegate to others? For example, is there another person, who can throw in a load of wash, pick up some groceries, or run an errand? Can you take one item off your list and move it to another day to get done? Can you unplug from technology for a day or half of a day and amuse your brain with something that diverts your attention and even makes you laugh? By lowering your tolerance to stress, by using the strategies to break the cycle, you will (hopefully) find that you are becoming more effective tackling those stressful items or situations and will be stressing less in the long run.

The Butterfly Effect

STRESS LESS

THIS WEEKS ADVENTURE ASSIGNMENT

Lower your tolerance to stress by making a list of your stressors. Get in touch with what is really stressing you out and what importance you have given it (or them). Next, be conscious of what is stressing you and back away until you can evaluate how best to handle it, thereby taking the pressure off at the moment. Practice, practice, practice.

I look forward to your comments and insight as we continue on our path to stress less and enjoy life more!

Hello and welcome! If you are new to this blog site, or to The Don’t Sweat Adventure, please click here. Once your curiosity is satisfied, and are ready to begin, then move to the first post on May 1st.

An InLinkz Link-up