Watching the clock

Almost done with work. Almost the weekend. Almost time to eat. Almost time to go. Almost bed time. Almost done with this workout. Almost done with classes.

Then, it will be better.

Someday. When all the stars have aligned, our lives will begin.

In that perfect moment, we’ll be alive. We’ll be happy. We’ll want to be present.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who falls into a cycle of waiting–watching the clock–wishing the time away. Almost done with work. Almost the weekend. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Waiting for later.

“But then,” says Eckhart Tolle, “you miss your whole life, which is never not now.”

What would happen if next time you find yourself watching the clock, you stop and ask yourself big questions like: Where am I? Who am I? What is happening right now? Why am I doing this? What is good and beautiful right here, right now? What is meaningful right here, right now?

Wishing time away becomes a habit. Our entire lives can slip away while we’re waiting for them to begin.

How can you break that habit? (Right this moment?)

Mahatma Gandhi - more to life than increasing speed

Sit with the bad, then chase the good

Okay, I’m not going to pretend like this pandemic is a fun time, or “good.” It is awful.

I have learned something about fear and sadness–not a new thing, psychologists have said it for years and years and years: Sit with it. Accept that shitty stuff is real. Acknowledge how hard it is. Feel the feelings.

That’s not something we’re the best at, most of us. Distraction and escape are easier when bad stuff happens. But what will happen if you just . . . let it be bad?

And then ALSO . . .

Chase the good! Find the positives. Embrace the opportunity.

While the world largely closes down for a while, everyone hunkered down at home, what small gift is wrapped up in this weirdness for you? Is there actually a very BIG gift?

You’ve recently said something like “I feel stuck” or “I don’t have time” or “I wish I could” or “I’m too busy”–haven’t you?

For most of us, our stuck/busy lives just got turned upside down. There is a lot of fear and loss to sit with. But ALSO . . . you got your opportunity: . . .

. . . Your opportunity to reset. To reflect. To reevaluate. To slow down. To speak up. To calm down. To reconnect with your life person. To check in on your friends. To meet new people. To HELP in big ways. To break habits you don’t want anymore. To meditate. To journal. To exercise. To write. To read. To plan. To dream. To grow. To heal. . . .

. . . to change!

Sit with the bad, then chase the good.

What GOOD thing could this crisis hold for you?

P. S. I’ll start. For me, this has been an opportunity to slow down from what was quickly becoming a mentally breakneck pace in my daily life. And as I’ve slowed down, I’ve found energy and peace. And as I’ve watched a bunch of real people suddenly get very vulnerable while dealing with a scary and chaotic time, I’ve found a little more courage to live and love a little more openly . . . as big as finally sharing some piano and song with the world–a dream of mine–because people can use a little happy and I could do with a little showing off . . . or as simple as checking in a little more with friends. Slowing down, loving more.

What about you? What’s your “good?”

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Sometimes you’ve gotta feel

Sometimes you’ve gotta feel, gotta get emotional.

At a seminar I attended last week, the speaker reminded us of a very real, very important fact of life, one that I know at least I forget a lot: You have to find inspiration. Like, inspiration with a capital I. Like deep emotional connection and feeling.

He explained that’s why we listen to music, among other things. Or read and share sweet stories. Watch inspiring movies. That’s why people in spiritual gatherings sing together and make moving music.

Every single day, I know that it would be healthy to get some exercise, to eat healthy, to slow down and take some time to recharge. But KNOWING this every single day doesn’t mean I DO it every single day. If we all did the things that we “knew” we “should” do, the world would be a very different place. Sometimes being aware of what’s good and positive to do, or being aware of what we want–having that knowledge isn’t enough.

I’ve learned a lot this year about the weirdness and randomness and arbitrariness and unstableness and just doesn’t-quite-make-sense-ness of feelings. They come and go, they feel massive and then they don’t feel at all, they motivate and then they disappear.

The “head” and the “heart,” as we speak of them, are two very different things. I grew up thinking that they weren’t. That what you need is to “get it.” To “understand.” But I’ve discovered, as I’m sure you have, that knowing your want/should doesn’t mean you follow through. Motivation to actually follow what we know, what we know we want–motivation doesn’t happen in the same way that understanding happens. Motivation is when you feel about it.

I’m one of those people that cries like a baby at movies and at music and at songs and at poetry and at beautiful landscapes and at an adorable thing that someone said or at like seeing a couple walk down the sidewalk holding hands. In other words I get feelings a lot. And I sometimes have seen that as a weird thing, a weakness, or something to be a little embarrassed about. Or at least something others will think is weak or weird.

But I also have noticed that the more of those feelings I have, the more I be who I want to be.

I can “think”/”understand”/”make sense of” myself and the world all the way down to a quiet, bland acceptance of the status quo with no drive to change, to act, to search. Or instead. I can let inspiration take hold.

Sometimes you’ve gotta feel. You’ve gotta get emotional. Gotta remember the butterflies you felt when you met her. Feel the giddy that you felt when you got that comic book as a kid. Feel the heart-wrenching pain of watching helpless, hopeless people, sick and suffering, needing the world to remember them. Hug yourself and the people around you and feel the word “support.” Sometimes you’ve gotta FEEL love, FEEL friendship, FEEL sadness, FEEL needs, FEEL purpose.

I don’t know if all this makes a lot of sense to you or helps you. Maybe it will resonate with a few people like me. If it does, go get inspired. Go find stuff that will FEEL you into ACTION.

All the good you want to do in the world, find the emotional stuff that will actually make you DO it. Put that stuff in front of your eyes every day. Stop scrolling Facebook for a minute, and go find the stuff that touches you deep down. Cry, laugh, hurt, dream, burn with desire.

I made a Spotify playlist called “All the feels,” because as silly as this is, I’m a better person when I listen to those tracks.

What makes you come alive? What connects you to the people you love? What connects you to your purpose? What makes you feel not-quite-there-yet, and sets you back on the road to your dreams? What forces you into the reality of the people around you who need your help? What INSPIRES you?

Look at that stuff. Get emotional. Be epic. People need you, you need you. We’re all in this together.

Happy adventuring! <3

Goethe - be inspired every day

Rip the Band-Aid Off

My manager recently sat down with me and expressed concern that I just didn’t seem like myself lately. She said I hadn’t seemed as happy and carefree as usual over the last few weeks. And she was worried it might be rubbing off on others.

Her concern was completely fair, and I think we got to the bottom of it:

In the last few weeks, there had been several projects I was working on–very sensitive projects with pretty delicate implications, so I was pretty pressured to get things just right.

More importantly, the projects were putting me in direct, daily contact with some very unhappy and uncooperative third parties.

On top of that, the projects were dragging on and on and on, and there was little I could do to fix the situations.

So I would get to work and look for this or that easy thing that needed to be done, and just hold off on dealing with the crappy stuff until later in the day. Like I was in a sort of denial–thinking maybe it would all just disappear if I waited long enough.

But it meant I was on edge a lot. It meant I was not looking forward to the rest of the day, I was dreading it. And clearly, it showed.

 

Here’s what I could have done differently: I could have ripped the band-aid off!

I should have known. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard my managers say exactly that–very applicable to our line of work: “Just rip it off!”

That’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from the last month or two of work. Think of it this way:

Remember being a little kid with a band-aid over your cut? After a day, you’d go to pull it off, and maaaan did it hurt!!! You’d timidly take a corner and slowly pull it back, bit by bit, millimeter by millimeter, willing the pain to subside. And with every microscopic hair that snapped, you’d clench your fists and fight your tears a little more. Surely, if you did it a little slower, it wouldn’t hurt so darn bad!!!

Then out of nowhere your mommy would reach in and grab the band-aid. You screamed in terror, but she ripped it off anyway. Fast.

… AND THE PAIN WAS GONE!

 

I promise that if you apply the same principle to your daily work, things will be easier and happier and you’ll be more productive. That’s what I’ve found over the last couple weeks.

If you have something painful to do, don’t wait: Get it over with right away!

If you do rip the band-aid off, you get to focus on good stuff the rest of the day. If you don’t, you get to dread the crappy part.

If you do rip the band-aid off, the happier you works faster and gets more done. If you don’t, you subconsciously procrastinate as long as you can.

If you do rip the band-aid off, the people around you don’t get rain-cloud vibes from you. If you don’t, your team mates will know you really just feel like going home.

 

But that lesson isn’t just about your job: Where else in your life do you need to rip a band-aid off? Is it a conversation you need to have? A habit you need to stop?

If you did just rip the band-aid off, don’t you think it would make you happier, more energetic, and more productive?

What band-aid have you ripped off recently? And which one do you know has got to go next?