Since the average annual temperature where I live is 74.8 degrees, I don’t have ample occasion to start up my gas fireplace. Pity. Firegazing is one of my favorite past times. Nothing prompts reverie quite like the color and motion of flames. Sigh. I don’t get to spend nearly enough time daydreaming.
Yesterday turned out to be a lovely day -- an unexpected snap of such inclimate weather that most roadways and both expressways were closed. As a result I had an unscheduled free day. Those are as hard to come by as the lit fireplace!
Unlike my friends further north, I didn’t hear the siren’s song of snowmen to be built, or snowballs to be tossed. I’m not an ice sculpturess, and so far ice tossing hasn’t caught on, so I had every reason to stay warmly ensconced inside.
That gave me a full day of get-to’s. I got to catch up on my reading, idly peruse magazines, and wrestle with Rex. I got to nap and I got to stare into the fireplace, letting what unchoreographed thoughts might come just dance.
My writing partner’s life coach actually suggested calendared daydreaming – times specifically dedicated to meandering musing. That’s a great idea, but I’m not looking for one more thing on my to-do list.
The beauty of yesterday was the free and stolen moments, the ones not calendared at all.
My friend reminded me yesterday that it has been nine years since I quit smoking. Frankly, I had forgotten my quit date. Until I dug around in my files and retrieved the journal I kept when I was going through the process of tobacco-cessation. Cold turkey. Without anesthetic.
Amazing how forgiving memory can be.
Not only have I forgotten quitting, I’ve forgotten about smoking.
So here’s today’s encouragement: Whatever you are trying to give up today that you don’t think you’ll ever get past, get on with, or get over? You can and you will.
You can relegate your “I wish I didn’ts” into your “and now I don’ts”. You really, really can.
Want to set some really sky-high, audacious, step out there goals for yourself? Please join me in the “From Can’t to Can Community” right here on braveheartwomen.com.
“He will hew to the line of right, let the chips fly where they may.“ -- Roscoe Conkling
One of my spousal unit’s favorite expressions is: “Let the chips fall where they may”. Naturally, I had to look it up. C’mon, I am a born and bred city girl. Disneyland. Los Angeles. Dallas. For all I know that has to do with snack foods or cow droppings. But the folks at brainyquote.com seem to think the idiom means to focus on the task at hand, and do it properly – in the example, focus on chopping the tree down correctly -- not to worry about the small wooden chips and where they land. Got it.
Which is all to say I have a decision I am wrestling with.
I guess I want to know where all the chips are and where they could, should, and might land. I am a hopeless figure-outer.
Yet for all my wonderings and plannings, my crystal ball is a fuzzy thing. I just can’t anticipate every outcome or imagine every possibility. Short-sighted, we mortals.
So I’m making my T-Chart, listing the pros and cons of the decision at hand.
So I confess I’m not the best decider. Don’t look to me to break the deadlock on lunch choices. I can hold up check-out lines debating the merits of paper and plastic. It took me years to realize that waiters with dessert trays are offering options. If life were a multiple choice test I’d fall squarely in the all of the “E: All of the above” camp.
All that to say I have a decision coming up and Yoda isn’t popping up with the best life choice. My spousal unit, who has had a couple more tours around the sun, suggests that with enough info, choices become easier to make: “Good information makes for a good decision”. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sounds like analysis to me, and I prefer mine with a couch.
So – out comes my infamous T-chart. You know the one. Grab some paper, Draw a T and list the pros and cons on either side of the vertical line. Voila! Decision made. Except I wasn’t happy with the results. I wanted a better process. (My friends of long-standing reading this are starting to become concerned. “She said process”).
I looked up flow-charting and came up with the example above. Zoom in.
It helped me a lot.
Bottom line? At the end of the day, if I go ahead and all else fails, will it make a good story? Absolutely! It’s called my memoir!
Failure is the path of least persistence. - George M. Van Valkenburg, Jr (1938- ) Writer, Speaker, Businessman, Entrepreneur, Inventor
I learned this morning that twelve publishers rejected J. K. Rowling’s book “Harry Potter.” Isn’t that amazing? It made me wonder how many times she would have submitted it before giving up on that idea altogether.
It made me wonder how many times I would.
How many times would you put yourself on the line before you’d give up?
It appears to me that the difference between the folks that succeed and the folks that don’t always comes down to this – the folks that succeed don’t give up.
“Failure is only success delayed” – Author unknown
Thesaurus.com offers the following synonyms for “Too” -- awfully, beyond, ever, exceptionally, exorbitantly, extremely, greatly, highly, immensely, immoderately, in excess, inordinately, notably, over, over and above, overly, overmuch, remarkably, strikingly, unconscionably, unduly, unreasonably, very
As one who has heard the word “too” from birth (I was born too early, was way too small, and it was much too soon to let me out of the incubator – yes, I heard everything) you would think I’d have gotten used to it. For some reason, the word still rankles me.
Clearly, some of us are just a little, well much. I know I am. I run with scissors, color outside the lines, call attention to myself, raise ruckuses and eyebrows, speak loudly and hug hard. I’ve fought that all my life. But today I own it; I am a natural born spotlight hog. I want the limelight, the attention, and the glory. That’s me in a nutshell. I’m over the top, but you know? In certain circumstances, that’s exactly where you need someone.
See, it’s a funny thing, “too”. Too is relative. Too can mean exceptionally, remarkably, greatly. Too is in the eye of the beholder and too in the right settings is really just fine.
The desert’s not hot to a cactus. The only time I ever get in trouble is when I’m not where I belong. It’s only when I try to shove my corners into the circle that my shoulders get bruised.
As I’m wrestle with some decisions I’m coming face to face again with who I am. With what I like and don’t. And where I’m comfortable and where I’m not. I told a friend yesterday I wasn’t a very good team player; I was more of a solo kind of gal. I’ll take all the blame so long as I can also get the credit. Yep, I’m a limelight junkie. But then, I never have liked the dark.
Are you too, too? Too tall, thin, young, quiet, shy, moody, bright, brazen, funny, old, affectionate, analytical, reserved? In the right spot, I bet you shine!
I’ve been thinking about the whole notion of being a team player. You know some have said that’s not my strong suit – attention-grabbing, limelight hogging chick that I am. But you know what? I think it’s a lot easier to be a team player when you’re in the right position on the team.
Here’s my story – I was always last picked at recess. Kickball, jump rope, jacks – last picked. Kind of gave me a complex. Unless Backgammon counts, I sort of avoided the whole athletic arena till my thirties. Then one day some friends a lot nicer than the ones on the playground needed me for one of those afterwork, fundraiser, softball tournaments. Now, I’m not saying I was first-picked, but they chose me. Desperate people will do desperate things.
Our team Captain asked me what I was good at. I told him writing and public speaking. He reminded me we were talking softball. I said “I can’t bat, I can’t catch, and I can’t keep score. I can’t field, I can’t see, and I can’t throw. But I can bunt and I can sprint and I can cheer like crazy.”
See we all have our strengths and weaknesses. You can’t do a thing about the weaknesses but you can build a whole playoff team on strengths.
So often we have our square pegs smooshed into circles and we wonder why they aren’t succeeding and we aren’t happy.
Find your arms and let them pitch, find your sprinters and let them bunt.
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.” - Lucius Annaeus Seneca (often known simply as Seneca, or Seneca the Younger) (c. 1 BC – AD 65) --
When I was in the first grade some genuis determined I should master the monkey bars. And they were wrong. I was a year younger and way smaller than the other kids and I never got the – uh –hang of it.
I could get my right hand on to the first bar and then the left and that was that. I’d freeze -- absolutely paralyzed and unable to go forward. Sure looked like a long way down to me. All I knew for certain was that every time I let go I got laughed at. So I'd hang on for dear life. I still remember the feel of that stupid bar in my hands.
A business venture I helped launch was taken off life support recently. We invested a lot of time, energy and resources building it. One of those day after day, year after year bloody, sweaty, teary efforts. It grew and grew and grew and pfooosh! Changes in the marketplace came and the economic recession hit. It was a one-two punch. But we hung on.
Sometimes letting go is much harder than holding on.
Sometimes I think it takes more courage to move on from something than it does to start it up.
But Seneca was right. Endings were beginnings once. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.
And so we soldier on. We let go and we soldier on.
“There is no gain without pain.” – Benjamin Franklin -- I must be gaining. If I’m not mistaken, I have a sports injury.
I’m going to pause here, and let those of you that haven’t been keeping up with me this past year have a moment of maniacal laughter.
I’m going to give the rest of you another minute.
May we move on?
About the only thing I can say for my previously sedentary existence, it didn’t hurt. I wasn’t making any personal nor physical progress, but I was pain-free. Now I have aches and pains in all kinds of places, and right now my right elbow is demanding the most attention.
Tennis elbow I believe its called, or acute tendonitis. I suppose my recent impression of a golf swing is the culprit, although it could have been the wall push-ups. Or the floor ones. Might even have been the hand-weights-while-treadmilling trick. Probably aggravated by wrestling with Rex on one of our walks.
But at least I’m moving. Forward. Face it. Exercise is hazardous, but so is living. If you are going to put yourself out there, there’s always a risk of injury – to limb, nerves, or ego. But man if you don’t? Where are you going to go? Forward, march!
Soldier (ow) on!
And if you'd like your growth to occur a little less painfully? I encourage you to join me here in the "From Can't to Can" Community" where we set huge, audacious, reach-for-the-stars, and virtually pain-free goals!
I flunked geometry and geology, never took calculus or chemistry, but expressing affection sure comes easily for me. I walk around with “I love you’s” on my lips. While I realize not everyone is perhaps as demonstrative as I am, if you’ve got anything in you to demonstrate, now’s the time to do it!
Today’s your day to be a great lover and be somebody’s Valentine.
Someone you know is widowed or newly separated or divorced this Valentines Day; give them a call.
Someone you work with is thinking this is the worst day of the year with the exception of New Years Eve. Invite them to lunch
Someone out there is feeling really alone. Remind them they are not.
Someone you might not even suspect needs some extra love today. Find out who that is and give them some of yours.
While our friends at Wikipedia define this holiday as a celebration of love and affection between intimate companions, I think it’s less about mad, passionate love and more about loving passionately.
Everyone can be a sweetheart on Valentines Day.
C’mon – It doesn’t take rockets or science to be a Cupid. Shoot an arrow, or catch one. Be a flirt. Be overt. But love – out loud.
“Vision is not enough; it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps; we must step up the stairs.” – Vaclav Havel
Maybe it’s my fire-ready-aim charm but that quote just sings to me. Step up! Try something. Mo-o-o-o-v-e!
I am an experiential learner. I learned to drive by getting behind the wheel of a Chevy Impala and driving. I’ve become proficient in various software applications by using them. I became a walker by (say it with me) walking.
Some folks are wired to absorb information by reading about it, watching it, even hearing about it. Some people like to prepare, study the matter, aaaaaaanalyzzzzzzze.
A friend reminded me recently, ready doesn’t mean much without set and go.
May I make a suggestion? If you are wrestling with making that next big change in your life? Tackling your next audacious reach-for-the-sky goal? Launching that project you’ve put off for far too long?
“It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires a great deal of strength to decide what to do”. – Elbert Hubbard
As a recovering people-pleaser with a long way to go I am still uncomfortable making decisions. It doesn’t matter how important or how inconsequential, I still catch myself demurring, hestitating, vascillating.
“Where would you like to have lunch” used to be a real stumper!
It’s taken me a long time but I’m finally realizing there is not a right answer to that question.
I was helping a co-worker clean up a supply room yesterday. Periodically she would ask me where I thought something should go -- whether I thought we should save or pitch an item. So many options, so many choices. While I didn’t break out into a cold sweat, I was decidedly uncomfortable.
Decision-making does that to me. It’s not so much about my wanting to be right, but it’s all about not wanting to be wrong.
I’m starting to realize that decision-making is a skill. Some folks are really good at it because it comes easily to them and/or they’ve had more practice.
There’s that word again. The secret to mastering anything – practice. And strength.
Meantime –noun: the time between events: the intervening period of time between two events, or from now until something else happens -
One of the greatest fears I’ve conquered in my life was the fear of flying. Terrified me. If you flew with me on the plane you had a lot more to be worried about than security and the child crying in the back. “Stewardess? May I move? She’s wailing again.”
Over time, I learned to keep myself very busy between take off and landings. Now when I travel I look like a pack mule, “no ma’am this isn’t for my trip, this is for my flight”. I have music, newspapers, magazines, multiple best sellers, a bible and bottled water. That usually sees me through takeoff.
I realized yesterday that when we are between great happenings, when we’re on our way to where we want to be but we just aren’t there yet, the best thing we can do is keep a positive attitude and stay busy.
Just stay busy and happy in the meantime.
Fasten your seatbelts, Bravehearts, you are about to take off!
I had the pleasure yesterday of speaking with an especially unpleasant woman. I had phoned her on a routine matter of little consequence and was met with rudeness, sarcasm, and the question: “Geesh, are you always this damn chipper?” Ouch!
It’s not the first time I’ve been called on my chipperness. I’m pretty naturally chipper. A friend calls me a gerbil. Even when I don’t feel at all chipperish? I try to manifest it anyway.
Later on in the day I learned that the irritable grouch had lost her husband and her mother in less than six months and the boss she’d worked with for years up and moved to another state.
On hearing all that I suddenly felt filled with all kinds of empathy for the gal – man, I’d be grumpy too!
I guess it helps to remember that everyone has a story. Whether we know what it’s about or how it was written doesn’t really matter. I’m hoping hers has a really happy ending.
Growing up in balmy, smoggy southern California I only saw stars on infrequent trips to the mountains and in birth-years ending in 5, not nearly often enough. Now, perhaps when I appreciate them most, I am blessed to view them with more regularity.
My husband has a property deep in the middle of nowhere that he bought precisely for its location, its hills, and live water. I love those things too, to be sure. But I love the remoteness the most because without the competing glare of city lights, stars not only come out, they put on a party.
I was hoping to attend one this trip to remoteland, but the moon would not have none of it. Pig Moon this full moon was called, and Luna, the Lunar stagehog wasn’t about to let any mere steller orbs steal her moment. She had the skies all to herself.
So I got to see her one-woman celestial show.
And it was spectacular. Indescribable. I applauded her performance loudly.
Lady Luna always teaches me something. This visit she reminded me that sometimes you receive far more than you hoped for, and the most precious gifts in life really are worth waiting for.