This is a perfect opportunity to put into inspired action what I shared in my last Bliss Blog entry about ‘multibasking’ vs. multi-tasking.
Since there is likely a holiday for every eventuality, today is World Sauntering Day. According to Wikipedia, “The purpose is to remind us to take it easy, smell the roses, to slow down and enjoy life as opposed to rushing through it. It is also sometimes referred to as International Sauntering Day. The exact year of its origin is unclear, but it is credited to have begun at Grand Hotel (Mackinac Island) in Michigan during the 1970s. The Grand Hotel has the worlds’ longest porch at 660′ in length. A response by W.T. Rabe to a growing movement toward the recreation of jogging. The idea of the day was to encourage people to slow down and appreciate the world around them.”
It’s such an onomatopoetic word, calling to mind hands behind back, meandering, perhaps scuffling through leaf carpeted forest floors, through cascading down sunbeams or toes in the sand beach wandering. For this recovering Type A overachiever, it beckons with crook-ed fingers to sloooowww my pace way down and appreciate the passing breezes, not having to pass them with my whirlwind.
What if we need not always have a goal, a destination and a way to hafta get anywhere? Cringing at contemplating that at times, since I am often so driven to accomplish. I pride myself on checking things off my ever growing lists of got-to’s when instead I would benefit from focusing on get-to’s. On this pre-Solstice (this Friday morning) late Spring day, I will saunter into my day with music, gym playout and creative endeavors, breathing in the Bliss of it all~ How will you saunter through your day?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvlW4bEjB5A Feeling Groovy Simon and Garfunkle
‘Crazy-busy’ is often a way I have described my schedule and level of activity over the past 20 years. Some days I have needed to check both my Google calendar and the beautifully decorated spiral bound Celtic knot designed paper version of the repository for the tasks that comprise my days. Wearing so many hats that I call to mind a Dr. Seussian image of a tall tower of chapeaus, caps, berets, fedoras, sombreros and derbies atop my head. I have prided myself on being able to juggle the colorful balls and spin the whirling plates without dropping too many of them and even when I have, I’ve been able to scoop them back up without too much disruption in my life. My friend Amy used to say with headshaking laughter that I would often run around 100 mph with my hair on fire. Because it is so short now, there isn’t much to burn off. It used to be a matter of ‘proving’ I could do it all, since once upon a time, I had physical limitations to overcome. Fiercely independent, ‘do it myself’ pout on my little girl dimpled face, I was determined not to let anything slow me down. That only worked for so long.
This morning, as I was doing my Facebook perusal, I was delighted to come across a posting from my ever creative friend Courtney A. Walsh. I had cyber-connected with her more than a year ago and we share a love of language and the quirkily poetic. A kindred spirit is what she is. We met face to face a month or so ago, when I drove up to Rhode Island for my niece’s graduation from Johnson and Wales. No way I could be there and not hug this wondrous wordsmith. Although we spent about 24 hours together, I was forever changed by our visit. The décor of her home reminded me of my own colorfully eclectic style. The pace of her life, while not as spinny as mine, lends itself to delight. Writing and private sessions with clients who seek her guidance, workshops and artistic endeavors, time in nature and with friends are part of her days. Mine include those things, but I add to the mix my counseling practice, weddings that I officiate, promotion that I do for myself and others, planning and offering my weekly radio show, writing more than half dozen columns and blogs, querying for other opportunities….whew!
A keen observer of life, Courtney was commenting on people who multi-task as a way of making themselves feel important. I can’t say I fall into that category, but I know that when we juggle or spin too much, some things are bound to fall through the cracks. In my case, what slips is my retrieval-memory. Names, context, what I walked into a room to do or get, go the way of all winds. Rather than thinking of herself as a multi-tasker, she said she prefers to consider herself as a multibasker who immerses in the juicily joyful, the bubbling over with bliss kisses from a life that loves her back. Me too, CAW(:
So, this morning as I anticipate a day that is comprised of writing, gym time, laundry, counseling clients and errands, I am moment-by-moment basking in music from my favorite radio station WXPN (www.xpn.org), which at the moment is Gimme’ Shelter from the septuagenarian Stones out on tour again, who played in Philly last night, the sun dappled curtains, fruit and veggie smoothie for breakfast as I type these words. Who knows what amazement awaits me on the other side of my door today? My overflowing heart is eager to welcome it.
More CAW-wisdom www.squeezingthestars.com
As those who have been reading the Bliss Blog for awhile may know, I wear many hats. Tonight I donned the one that is labeled recovery counselor in a drug and alcohol outpatient program. On Monday nights I offer a group for folks who have co-occurring conditions which translates to mental health diagnoses and substance abuse issues; not an easy combo for them and not always simple to facilitate. There are times when I feel like I am pulling teeth to encourage speaking about what is on their minds. Fortunately tonight wasn’t one of them. I brought into the room a book called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens written by Sean Covey who is the son of Stephen Covey who wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People which I read for the first time in the early 1990’s. What jumped out at me was that although using a substance to get through life, to self medicate, to relieve boredom, to socialize are clearly habitual, even more so are the daily activities of every person on the planet, even if they never indulge in their drug of choice.
My definition of a habit, is something I do routinely, sometimes as a ritual, sometimes unconsciously.
Some of mine include:
Setting intention each morning before getting out of be to “have extraordinary experiences and connect with amazing people.”
Writing throughout the day.
Social media interaction.
Tending to hygiene.
Lately, starting my day with a fruit and veggie smoothie.
Going to the gym 4-6 times a week.
Cleaning the house.
Going to my various jobs.
Putting my seatbelt on before I drive.
Using cloth bags when I go to the store.
All of these sound like responsible and healthy adult things to do. Let me add that others are not indicative of a wellness program.
Biting my nails at times.
Over-indulging in my drug of choice-chocolate.
Self deprecating thoughts.
Going to be too late.
Making my son wrong in my mind if he doesn’t do things my (a.k.a. the right) way.
Taking on too much at once.
Saying yes when I really want to say no.
Both Coveys recommend these core actions:
The First Three Habits surround moving from dependence to independence (i.e., self-mastery):
- Habit 1: Be Proactive
Take initiative in life by realizing that your decisions (and how they align with life’s principles) are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Take responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow.
- Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life. Create a mission statement.
- Habit 3: Put First Things First
Prioritize, plan, and execute your week’s tasks based on importance rather than urgency. Evaluate whether your efforts exemplify your desired character values, propel you toward goals, and enrich the roles and relationships that were elaborated in Habit 2.
The next four have to do with Interdependence (i.e., working with others):
- Habit 4: Think Win-Win
Genuinely strive for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Value and respect people by understanding a “win” for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten his way.
- Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Use empathic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem solving.
- Habit 6: Synergize
Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone.
- Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. It primarily emphasizes exercise for physical renewal, prayer (meditation, yoga, etc.) and good reading for mental renewal. It also mentions service to society for spiritual renewal.
As we explored these ideas, the energy lifted and they were willing to be more courageous with taking a look at what may have held them back and kept them stuck. As I spoke with them, I was of course, also addressing myself and my less than sterling habits as I mentioned above. Because we teach what we need to learn and I’ve heard it said, that when we teach, we learn twice, it was no accident that I chose this as tonight’s topic. Needing to clean up the habits that no longer serve, sweeping them up into the dustpan.
“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”-Lao Tzu
I was listening to an interview and concert today on World Café on WXPN with Scottish singer-songwriter K.T. Tunstall. I was introduced to her music when Black Horse and The Cherry Tree came out in 2004. Besides loving her melodic meanderings, I discovered that she and I have something else in common. It was a life changing experience on July 17, 2008 when (not at the same time, though) we each had an audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama when he came to Philadelphia. I was fulfilling a 20 year journalistic dream when I interviewed him and it still feels surrealistic. She, along with musicians Moby, Joss Stone and Serge Tankian joined him in celebration of The Missing Peace Music Project.
One of things she offered close to the end had to do with one of my favorite subjects; creativity and the ways in which inspiration comes to us and is expressed. She envisioned it as if it were a ‘wispy stream that flowed above my head’ and that she needs to grab ahold of it, lest someone else do it first. I feel the same way, since there have been times when I have seen something elsewhere that I could have written. We are all part of the collective mind that ponders and processes reality. I find inspiration everywhere. It shows up in the simple things, such as sitting on the porch of my ‘office away from home’ called The Zen Den, in Doylestown, PA sipping a glass of multiple-herbal, anti-oxidant infused iced tea in the midst of birdfeeders and wind chimes at a brightly painted rescued and restored wrought iron table. I had the serene experience of breathing and being while waiting for my friends Jon and Chris to arrive to put the finishing touches on a workshop we are co-facilitating next Sunday. It arrives when driving in the car on winding back roads, arm breezing out the window, catching an updraft as my hand rides the wave~ It peeks in through my bedroom curtains in the form of sun dappled branches playing like a Balinese shadow puppet. And it visits my dreams as I drift and float on cloud cushions.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQmDUEv939A Black Horse and The Cherry Tree