Sunday, December 27, 2009

10 Things To Create a Genuinely Happy New Year

I am suddenly inspired to write multiple posts to this blog. I wonder if the end of the year has anything to do with it. Strangely we assess our progress most vigorously when the calendar year ends. We wonder how we are tracking on this years goals(if we remember them)and we set new ones for next year. We seek change but choose the path of least resistance.

If you are not enjoying life, it is time to recreate it. I thrive on change and constantly seek to evolve from where I currently am. Sometimes we lapse into a mediocre acceptance of what our lives have become. Fear is a constant barrier to creating change. Here are 10 good ideas for creating change in your life. it is what I do when the new year comes. This exercise helps to define for me how to incorporate change and evolution in different areas of my life.

1. Try something new EVERY day

It doesn't have to be life altering activity. Start small with small things. Read a new book. Go to a new place in your own city. Shop at a market instead of the grocery store. Mix a new cocktail. Run or walk a new route. It just shakes up your auto pilot a little and starts the creativity flowing.

2. Make a list of what is not acceptable in your life right now

I know we are supposed to be grateful and focus on the positive but in essence this point asks you to define the things you would like to change. Forget if they are too big to handle ie. I would like to change jobs/quit my job etc. Just list them until you get to all the things you would like to change. Relationships, freedom, responsibility to others, ability to see new places. Ask yourself what is not working in my life right now?

3. Define the things that make your heart sing

What do you experience that makes your heart feel like it could explode. Is it listening to amazing music; when you are running or walking on a great day; when you are watching a movie or chatting with the people you love to be around; when you are out in the sunshine feeling the world like there is no tomorrow; when you are reading a good book in a great place; when you experience a really good wine. What makes your heart sing? Identify them and make room for a heartsong every day.

4. Commit to doing some form of exercise each day

Make it something you can achieve on Day 1 and repeat on Day 2. You will not become a Victoria Secret model in 12 weeks. Just incorporate a half hour into each day wherever it fits and with whomever you choose. It not only gets your body in motion but it moves your thought to believe you can do anything! It gets addictive and after about 2 weeks you miss it when you miss it.

5. Pick 2 or 3 things

Short bold decisons. I will do this... Clear, achievable but just out of reach. Make sure that when you achieve them you will have grown through the process. Only 2 or 3. No more. This is meant to inspire you, not laden you with more tasks to complete. Choose two or three changes that when you make them, your life will be tangibly and perhaps visibly better.

6. Remove Self Imposed Limitations

No excuses. We are blue skying here. If money was no object what would I be doing next December? If I was not accountable to anyone else, what would I do with my time? Where and how would I live? How would I live each day? What would my perfect day look like? Dream Big.

7. Seek out online sites/blogs where people are pursuing/achieving the same goals

Bookmark them or subscribe to them to remove the need to find them each day. Gain strength from their journey and copy their actions. Seeing the actions others take gives you ideas for applying action in your own life. Just knowing there is someone on the road ahead of you can drag you over some major bumps in the road.

8. Three small actions

For each of your two or three ideas identify 3 small actions that will put you on the path. If you want to leave a negative job environment behind identify three steps to start the momentum. Identify the new company where you will share your experience. Investigate freelancing in your area of specialty. Identify the school that offers the learning opportunities that would make you better or allow you to pursue new roles. There. Three avenues of possibility. Three actions to take. When you complete those you are already further along the path to changing or evolving your newly emerging self. Define 3 more actions. Then do it again and again until you have arrived.

9. Feel your Flow

Achieving your intentions should flow. It should not feel like work. It should challenge you so that each challenge you meet gives you strength to create new challenges and confidence that you can attain these new challenges. You start with knowing that you can achieve your intentions, having an inspired confidence of where you will be when the year ends. Then you work towards that end. When you get off track you simply correct your path and keep going. I read somewhere that an airplane is off course and correcting 95% of the time when enroute to the next airport. That is probably real for people too so do not see getting off course as a reason to stop trying. Correct your path and keep going. Keep going.Flow.

10. Align your actions with your key values. My goals align with my desire for Authenticity in people and places in my life. My desire for Continuous Learning. There are more if you read my earlier post on this. This ensures that when you arrive, you will feel the harmony that exists in living a life that flows with who you are.


Work Less. Worry Less. Succeed More. Enjoy More. It is in the title of a book by Richard Koch called "Living the 80/20 Way" but I think I would like it to be my Mantra. I am not a lazy person by any means. But I do look at how I spent the last 3 months of my life and I think that I need to change things up!

Koch says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. Wow! That really makes you redefine the busy tasks that fill your days. It requires that you choose what is important and make sure that you do the things related to those important things first.

When you lose focus on your new goals it is usually because you are immersed in the minutiae that is everyday life. Revisit the big goal. Step back and renew yourself by redreaming the big goal. Really feel it. Then ask if the minutiae creates or is related to the goal. Seems impossible to eliminate all the little things. Start with some.

80/20 applies to all you do. Is it possible to slowly eliminate the 80% of your efforts that gives you 20% of your results. Reciprocally is it possible to refocus and expand on the 20% of what you do that gives you 80% of your results and probably 80% of your happiness.

Great theory. Tough to act on. Here is a thought on how to apply it. First define what is key in your life. New business. Stronger relationship. New job. Whatever it is to you. There might be two or three things. Just define them.

Then carve out time every day to move that goal forward. One act that is focused on that goal. I find when I do the one act that moves me in the direction of that goal, I feel motivated to do more things on the list. When I see progress on the goal, I feel enthusiastic engagement in the process of achieving that goal once again.

The banal task of making a list of next steps to the goal keeps the process in motion. But never lose sight of the goal as part of the 20% of your life's actions that keep you in your happy place.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Action Steps

I need to clarify a new series of action steps on my goals. It takes the goals from being distant and dreamy and pushes me to attach an action to the attainment of those goals. "A goal without a plan is just a dream". Not sure who said that. Wise.

Two goals. One shorter term and one longer. Made a list of next steps for each. I want to enjoy the process though. I need to be careful not to turn the new project into another series of stressful steps to a required result. The goal is to enjoy the process and as I leave behind my current role and step forward, I want to preserve the fun and creativity that inspired the new role.

The shorter term project(small business) is already underway and has reached a stage of its development that will require me to do new things in order to move forward on it. Not a bad thing. But when executing on the required steps, the small distractions seem more important than the new things I have to learn. Maybe not more important but easier.

The second project(an interactive website) is still just a dream but I did some research tonight to check if it has already been done.

It is worthwhile to have an ongoing line up of new ideas. It keeps your optimism and excitement high. When you brainstorm the new ideas keep your list of what is important to you nearby. Check if the new idea allows you to be the person you want to become. if it does, it stays on the list. For future consideration. Most successful people say they had a series of failures before they found the one that worked. Keep on failing your way to success!

Monday, December 21, 2009


A few days ago I challenged myself with he thought that I had spent the whole year blogging about transition. I questioned if I had actually made progress. In his book Work Less Live More, Bob Clyatt speaks of an incubation period where it seems no progress is being made and then suddenly you break out and become the person who you were thinking about becoming. The implication that I am in a cocoon working my way out is an apt analogy. It makes me find peace and reduces the rush to display some outer world tangible sign of progress. I once again trust that my path is there and getting clearer. I trust the innate, invisible schedule that governs my progress.

Today I came across a saying "Imagination is the key to Freedom". Cool thought. It resonated with me. I want to imagine my way to freedom. It is interesting that when you begin you have to make an effort to imagine the scenario and work through it in absolute detail and colour to keep it real. Now when I think about the future it actually is real. I see myself moving toward a touchable goal. It is my destiny and it is just a matter of time. There is no if. Only when.

Friday, December 18, 2009


In prior times it was called Mid Life Crisis and those who experienced it were viewed as ridiculous stereotypes that had simply gone off the rails. Now it is seen as a crucial stage of development that catapults you into the next stage of your life. It is a re-examination of all the attitudes and activities that fill your waking hours. We question our work, our relationships and our choices in our lives to date. With effort we can stand back from them and see if the choices we have made are congruent with the person we are becoming. Turn off the auto pilot of life and see things as they are. Our life choices often turn out to serve the person we were when we made that choice.

This new mid-life is tempered with a sense of optimism; a sense of infinite possibilities. In my mid life I feel a need to exist without catering to the expansive circle of those who, to varying degrees, rely on me. A freedom to uncover who I am when I am not who I should be. This is actually the beginning and all my life experiences to date have been preparing me for this moment of emergence. I feel a smile in my whole being.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Leap and the Net will Appear!

I need to leap. I can spend another year in the safety of my paycheck or I can leap and trust that I will go forward. Any other time in my life when I have leaped, it has worked out. Not always in the direction I intended but it has definitely worked out. I feel the need to have a cushion to land on but building that cushion feels slow and I am ready to fly.
The end of the year is significant. It makes me confront the reality that I have been blogging on the subject for a year now. Safety or Freedom.
Interesting that there is nothing safe about Freedom. It is a choice of living always with a potentially unpredictable outcome. It is a choice of living with inconsistent income. Scary thought. My family relies on me for the good life!
Interesting how the very thing that I cling to is also the thing I would like to run away from. The predictability of life is both a goal and a fear! I crave new experiences yet I seek the safety of my day to day life. Is there a way to combine the excitement and safety. Maybe. And maybe after I take the step that puts me out there but maintains the path back, I will not ever want to return.
I am looking over the edge but I cannot see what is below. I commit to making my leap in 2010.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Marathon Woman

There is a LottoMax commercial on television that shows a woman running through several different landmarks in the world including St. Marks Square, an African landscape, a beach and on the Great Wall of China. As a lifelong runner (in some shape or form) I was immensely attracted to that commercial, not for the lottery money, but rather for the idea of running through the very destinations that play in the background of my mind. Running and travel. A few of my favorite things. When a commercial appeals to you , you know that you are the demographic targetted by that product marketer. Reciprocally when you find a commercial that irritates, you know that you are not their target market. I am exactly the Lotto Max target market. I think they are targetting a new potentially lucrative market with this commercial. I am not a typical lottery target market. Yet I completely identify with that commercial. It is not the running part of it that will appeal to the masses but rather the opportunity to experience new places and things.

A marathon when I was 30 in Toronto. A marathon when I was 40 at Disney Orlando. I had planned to run the Great Wall when I turned 50 but life got in the way. Need to keep that on the list. Hmmm....May 15th, 2010. Might be just the injection I need to break out of my complacency. Life is waiting patiently for me.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Will I Love It? A Revelation of Insecurities

I monitor numerous travel blogs and I love the writers' apparent lack of direction and ability to experience the moment. I love the exotic places and their seemingly effortless ability to 'get local' in whatever environment they happen to be in. I love to take photographs and I envy their freedom to create a picture that captures their moment.

I wonder if when given my wildest dream, is there a possibility that it could become my wildest nightmare. I have gotten posh and soft since my younger years of travelling on trains and living in dorms. Can I live communally aboard a sailboat in order to experience the journey? Can I live local? How do we define that word local? Are there multiple definitions and levels of living local? Do I know how to do nothing and just be in the moment anymore? What will take the place of the incessant list that scrolls in my mind? Will I mourn the life that I left behind? Maybe. I can always come back and do what I do now. Can't I? Will I? I cannot imagine going backwards but it reassures me as I look into an unplanned future.

There I think I inadvertently hit on it. Unplanned. My whole life is planned and predictable. Safe. A recurring theme in my blog is my fear of the unknown. Of change.

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do." (Eleanor Roosevelt) Hmmmm.

Can I rediscover my authenticity under the layers of acquired adaptive behaviors? Maybe travelling can accelerate this process.
Will the money last? There is a lot of it but truly I am unaware of what it would take to be a nomad full time. I am not a backpacker/camper/sleep with a pile of students kind of person but I have discovered ways of travelling that are none of these yet within budget.

I am 10-15 years from retirement so really this is a decision to retire if I go now. But there are ways to create a meaningful, lucrative retirement should I decide to come back.

There. I have laid all my insecurities in writing. Very therapeutic. Illuminating.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Location Independence

What a concept! Working to provide your income stream from wherever you happen to be. It seems that lots of people do it both through freelancing or working for a company that does not require you to be in an office but just to generate work flow. What about remote entrepreneurship? Interesting idea if you can put the business on auto pilot and be free to move and experience while you check in from afar. Is it possible? From reading too many online blogs it would seem you can eke out a moderate to a quite lavish lifestyle while maintaining your freedom to be where you choose.

As I come to the close of my busiest work season, I realize that what I give right now to my company taxes my sanity and my good spirit. I work long hours right now with an expected refund in January and February. But you cannot refund your health and the times missed with family. So how can I make the leap. I remain dependent on the income my job provides and wonder at the same time if I live up to my income.

Am I able to leave work and make a lifestyle that nurtures me? My investment divisor is 31.5 meaning that at this age I have 31.5 years left to live. 31.5 years...what do i want to fill those years with.

Gary Vaynerchuk speaks vehemently on liking what you do for a living. He says that if you dislike your job 1% you need to find something else to do. How about if you dislike your job about 50% and the other 50% that you enjoy is the downtime when you spend the least amount of time on the job!

Location Independence sounds amazing. Gotta go there.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Early Victory

Ten out of fifteen stores who were presented the product said yes so far. Three days in we have our first reorder from an amazing store and an amazingly supportive woman. She sold eight of her ten items. Now I just need to figure out how to make the product profitably. That is my next big step. Early numbers say it is possible to make money on this.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Breakthrough again!

Interesting that I began selling the new product this week and I am definitely excited to see how it is received by the stores and then if the consumer is willing to exchange cash for my product. Because I work full time right now I hired a sales person to execute on this for me. Stay tuned on results. This is the moment of truth after all the weeks of preparation.

My next dilemma was that I was not sure that I could make money selling the product. And if not, then it is not a relevant step on my path to autonomy and freedom. The cost of product was too high and the retail price point was fixed as it was an variation on an existing product. And then I did that "10 solutions brainstorm" on the problem. It included things like raising the price, shipping out of a printer in California who was slow to quote and reply. (red flag) It included going to a trade show to scout alternatives for printing and then the breakthrough solution came.

I have always been wary of shipping out China but I went online to and and registered and requested quotes on my product. The early ones are coming in at .32 per unit versus the $8.00 I am currently paying! Need to investigate a little more. I have a friend who brings product from China and I will request that her contact checks out my possibilities. All of a sudden the project is feasible again!

Business possiblilities and adventure. It satisfies two of my goals. Interesting how when each step of the process is difficult I pull back and think "it is not going to work." And now I know to keep looking for solutions. I recommend that you brainstorm solutions with a friend. Two brains multiply your results exponentially. I am not there but I am on a new path that feels like it may resolve the issues. I wish I could stay in North America but if I do I will not be able to continue.
Here is what I learned in this lesson. The little voice in the back of my mind works against me to discourage me and keep me staus quo. Safe and settled. How easily we choose safety over adventure and potential happiness. This new road feels daunting in the face of a series of new challenges that I have yet to define. One foot in front of the other. If you view the whole task it looks like a mountain. If you look at the next step it is easy. My mountain is production in Asia...HUGE. My next step is to contact my friend who is already producing in China about the project....EASY.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

10 Possible Solutions

The lure of the warm climate increases as November looms. I am invigorated by my plan to change my scene. A small voice chatters in the back of my head about what if...What if I don't like the travel idea once I am doing it. Adjusting to living in England was hard at first. What if the money does not last? What if I am bored by not working after a lifetime of looming deadlines and list filled days?

The answer could lie, as it often does, in "a solution brainstorm". Freely brainstorm a list of 10 possible solutions for the issue. Do not stop until you get to 10. Then pick one off the list and try it. If it does not work, pick another one and try get the idea. Keep going and eventually one of your solutions will either solve the issue or take you to a new place where the issue is no longer relevant.

So, if I find that I do not like to be lying on the beach reading every day in Fiji, then I brainstorm 10 things I would rather be doing and then do one of them. Problem solved.

Is life about experiences and living and testing limits? There is a woman who rowed the Atlantic Ocean. She said she had left behind a 'perfect life'. One statement she made touched me in particular. She said that she bought an expensive house close to work and then had to work to afford her expensive house. A vicious circle. It gave me insight into how we step into a never ending, continually escalating spiral of attainment and achievement.

There is no exit on a spiral. It does not end unless you jump off. That is scary. So, if you jump and it turns out to be less than fulfilling then what happens next? You brainstorm 10 new ways to create fulfillment where you are and you pick one.

We choose feeling secure over happiness. Status quo and mediocrity over the great unknown. Trust yourself. Jump. There is so much more to live.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Preview of Life's Coming Attractions

I want to put up a description of my future scenario so that when I achieve it I will look back and go WOW I did it!

So here it is. My three year plan. (Reduced the timeline from the five year plan) I have created a reasonably successful business so that I have income coming in to support my lifestyle. Trivia Party Starters. Maybe. When winter comes, November or late October, I head to warm places. Choices include a condo rental on the beach at Madeira Beach, Arizona or Hawaii (Kona is my first love). I prefer the beach. My pleasure is to spend two hours a day walking/running on the beach with Audi. Then go for coffee at the local coffee shop. I have a Blackberry and a laptop and a Kindle to stay in touch with everything/everyone. I will work at the business for two hours a day and have one person here in Guelph to keep the business day to day. I will spend 3-4 months there and then go to Europe and rent by the sea for a couple of months a year. (It is surprisingly cheap to rent monthly in the small towns far from the maddening crowd.) Drink wine in the places where wine was born and read endless books on Kindle while watching the water. Tour around on a bicycle and enjoy the culture. Train it to Paris or Rome for a couple of days. Spend summer at the cottage. Not sure if Sandra would rent the cottage out for two months June and July.

I am doing my PhD online through Walden U and enjoying the content immensely.(Psychology)

I travel to China and teach English for a semester or two. I build a house with Habitat for Humanity. Spend a week at Kilimanjaro and climb to the summit. Three days at the North Pole to see the Northern Lights. The pyramids in Egypt and a hike through the Sahara. Descend into a shark cage and see them up close and personal. Take yoga classes in Asia. Cooking lessons in Thailand, Greece, France and Italy. Running on the Great Wall of China. Learning to sail in the Mediterranean.

I have a philanthropic side to the business that helps educate young girls in third world countries so they do not get married so young. I feel good about that and the more product I sell, the more girls who will attend school and find out who they can be.

It is all possible and affordable on a normal income if you can be mobile and still earn that income. The other thing I think about is missing friends and family and I know they will come over to share these amazing moments with me. And I will be back regularly to share simple times. I will send my kids a ticket while they are in University to join me where the mood strikes them.

Sounds like the impossible dream. When you do the math it does not seem impossible. This blog entry becomes my roadmap. Napolean Hill says "Your burning desire is nothing more than an accurate picture of what you will one day become". Einstein says that "Imagination is the preview of life's coming attractions". This is what I will one day become. I have already begun the trek but the road ahead is still foggy and the destination not obvious to me. But I am moving step by step.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Carpe Diem

I am at the cottage with a group of friends who have been friends since high school. We have moved in and out of each others lives but never too far away. Throughout the 35 or so years that we have known each other we have shared moments and sadness and illness and joy and lots of wine. Remarkably we are all still here. We came up to this cottage before our children were born and now we are here and the children have moved on. For many years in between we shot photos each year as the kids grew and this year we won't. It is not sad just the way it is. There is a new life for all of us now and we need to Seize The Day.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fear. Doubt. Happiness. Boredom.

Normally we think the opposite of happiness is sadness. Here is a new idea. What if the opposite of happiness is actually boredom instead of sadness? The opposite of love is indifference instead of hate? These thoughts come from Tim Ferriss and the longer you think about them the more interesting they become. Boredom is unhappiness. The times when I feel the most unhappy are the times when there is nothing to stimulate my mind and body. When I stretch to reach new goals I feel the happiest. When I leave my comfort zone behind I feel anxious and uncomfortable. When I push through this feeling even on small tasks, I feel the elation of having accomplished something hard; of stretching the envelope and learning new skills.

Last year I was working on this project and one thing went wrong and I immediately packed it all up and put it away. I have reopened the project now about a year later and have moved way past that one thing that went wrong and now when I look back I cannot believe it was a showstopper for me. It has faded to a small insignificant detail. That kind of retrospect lets me look at the issues that seem to loom now and when I think about it I know that they too will shrink to become insignificant with time and action that helps me move around them.

I act in spite of fear and doubt. My current mantra. It works.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Time, Mobility, Money (In That Order!)

I narrowed down to a list of 4 values with my Coach. I had to start by defining 30 values. I was stuck at 6. When I finally had a list of 30 and had to choose my 5 most important ones, I had trouble letting some of them go. Here are the 4 I chose and as I look at them now, they truly represent where I stand right now.
  • Personal Power defined as strength, belief in myself, clarity.
  • Authenticity defined as friendship, trust and being my authentic self.
  • Continuous Learning defined as Knowledge, Achievement and Trying New Things.
  • Freedom defined as Adventure, Choice and Variety.
Tim Ferriss of The 4-Hour Work Week defines the new goals of increasing time and mobility now rather than waiting for some vague retirement time which may not come. He discusses automating your cash flow so you can finance your mobility and use your free time to try new things. I like how he turns the old "Work until you can Retire" model on it's head. He makes me think differently and see possibilities in a model for life that I had never even considered. He shows you how to go now.
His principles align perfectly with my values. Sychronicity.

Two Things and Five Things

Two things I learned this week. Waiting is my way of procrastinating. If I am waiting for an answer from someone else, I am not responsible to act. By knowing this I can move past it. When I am about to make the most challenging step on a path to a goal, I tend to ask questions of others and then spend time waiting for the answers. It keeps me from having to take the big step.

The second thing I learned was to keep on trying when I was not getting the result I needed. (Hmmm that's new!) I reached a wall on a project that I was working on and I just kept calling to get another opinion until one person provided me with the lead I needed to move on to the next step. As a result, I made a huge leap toward the goal.

Just putting words onto these behaviors helps me to grow past them.

Jack Canfield says to do 5 things each day that move you towards your goal. I like that idea. 5 things a day for a year is more than 1800 things done to achieve your goals. Imagine contacting 5 PR sources for your business. Imagine contacting 5 people that can assist with production. Imagine meeting with a mentor each week to keep your momentum going. Do one thing to move you towards production of a prototype. Build your website. Have labels created. Have bar codes registered for your product. Contact 5 web sites that will carry your product. Contact 5 stores that might carry your product. 5 more things each day until one day you are looking back at what you have accomplished. Victorious retrospect.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Series of Small Steps

When you have a big idea, it is exciting and motivating. Then you begin the actual execution of the tasks to make your idea become real. These are banal tasks that are seemingly unrelated to the exhiliaration of the goal. That makes them hard to do. Do them anyway. I have experienced this sequence before and it leads directly to the goal by completing one task and moving on to the next one. Some of the tasks are difficult and new. Some of them feel like showstoppers. Go around them. There is a new path just beyond.

I had dinner with a friend last night and she started a very successful business doing what she loves. She said when she is working she feels like this is exactly what she should be doing. She tried to think of her ideal life and what it would look like. And she says her ideal life and her real life are the same. What an achievement. We should all be that focussed.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Nancy Davis wrote a book about optimism and MS. I ordered it immediately. I am frighteningly optimistic in thinking I can control this strange disease. I balk at the word disease as I type it. I refuse to think of it as a disease but rather just another thing that I can manage within my list of priorities. A little self deception? Maybe. Whatever gets you through the night. An attack could suddenly change my life. But I can also get hit unexpectedly by a bus. Could result in the same outcome. Yet....I do not worry about being hit by a bus. I will not worry about this as there is little affect that will have on my outcome.

Here is what the knowledge of a possible attack of MS should do. It should make me re-evaluate what I am doing with the precious minutes and days that I have available. Am I doing the things that I enjoy or am I doing the things that people my age do. I think it is the latter and I am making it the former. armed with my list of things I want to do, I am carving out a new lifestyle for myself. “Every adversity and defeat carries the seed of an equivalent benefit, if we are ingenious enough to find it.”

This should not be an exercise related to an MS diagnosis but one which we should all do to create the life of our dreams. Ask yourself if you are you who you dreamed you would be when you were young? The answer to that will probably be "no". But the achievement of that is not beyond our reach. So how can we gradually change our lives to become who we had hoped to be. We all need to feel the momentum of new goals that we stretch towards and feel the victory of reaching new levels of ability in every area of our lives.

We all have precious time left and we want to be sure to do the things that make our hearts sing. Today, not someday.

Monday, May 18, 2009

No Space or Time

These are the kinds of things I think about when I am in the shower. Einstein said that the concept of space and time does not exist; that it is a human invention designed to organize our perceptions. It implies therefore that everything is happening in the present. I can put this in words but I cannot truly get my lovely adept human brain to comprehend this. Maybe it gets close to the reason why time seems to rush by faster as you get older. Maybe we become more able to deal with the concept and get closer to it's meaning by seeing time rush past. Maybe spirituality(not defined as religion) and science do meet on another plane at some point and we get closer to that as we get older. Maybe Einstein was a spiritually advanced human being as well as a mathematical genius. Is it possible that the two qualities emerged concurrently because they are related? I know that the time between getting ready to go in the morning and getting ready to go to bed at night seems to get shorter as I get older. Is this evidence of my emerging comprehension of the Einstein concept of space and time. Maybe evidence of spiritual growth. Maybe evidence of being too busy. A lot of Maybe's.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Big Idea! Starting Small!

Working on the big new idea. Breaking out of old patterns. I have spent my whole life as a great employee. Now those well honed talents can be used to achieve my new goals.

I am thinking that I do not want to be 70 and looking at the path not taken and wondering what if..... Boldness looks good on me. It puts an excitement into my step that I did not know was missing. When you are in love, love does that. It colours everything you do with a magical palette of intense colour. Finding your path can make you feel the same way. That explosion of colour also tells you that you are on the right path. Where am I going? I don't know but it certainly is fun getting there.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

False Events Appearing Real (F.E.A.R.)

I have a plethora of great ideas for new businesses. Every time that I have an idea I write it into my notebook. Some ideas are discarded because it makes sooo much sense to discard them. Others I scope out in detail until....I figure out why I should not go forward. I seek reasons why each will not succeed. I magnify them in my mind until I am unwilling or unable to go forward. New honesty. It is called fear. Here is a wise thought.

"Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here is another. "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.... You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
Eleanor Roosevelt
I know these truths intellectually. It doesn't quell my fears. I do know that every time I have been afraid, but have gone forward (or been pushed forward), I have emerged stronger, wiser, and more enlightened. Knowing all these things does not change my fear. Yet if I keep doing what I have always done, I will get what I have always had. Old results. Not bad. I can see the new results waiting for me in the distance beyond my fear

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What People Think

What would you do if you did not care what people think? Who would you be? What would you do? Where would you live? I answered this by trying to define what are the things that I could not live without....the things that give me pleasure. Here is what I came up with. I would like to have my family, my computer, my camera, clean fluffy bedclothes, a place to cook amazing creations, lots of books, a bicycle, good running shoes and really good red wine (no wine is better than bad wine). Depending on if I am travelling or home based I would also need a car...although sometimes I think walking and biking everywhere would be fun (but I may never see my friends who live further away than my current state of fitness allows.)

Would I work at this job? I think I might like to do my own creative thing instead. Interesting that when I was in University, it was quite in vogue to pursue Business disciplines. My natural tendencies leaned towards the Arts -- psychology and the brain fascinated me and still does. I moved to a Business Major because that was deemed to be a route to "success". I was successful on the job when I got out of school too. But it never fascinated me. It propelled me forward because I received accolades and promotions. And I was the archetypal successful woman at a time when the idea was still new. So although I definitely blazed new trails, they might have been on the wrong mountain. So now I want to define what it is that floats my boat.
The list of my favourite things is quite simple. So what is this complex life that I have built around me. Time to dismantle.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Van Gogh Did Shoot for the Moon

A few people have asked me why I write a blog. To me it is just like journal writing which I have done in brief intermittent moments of clarity but really nothing that endured. In a blog, you get the chance to write about your hopes and dreams. Sometimes when you write things down, it gives clarity to what seem to be rather haphazard and unrelated thoughts when they are in your mind. Journal writing and blogging lets you recreate the story of what you want your life to be. "Writing in a journal helps you to live with greater clarity and more deliberately." It lets you dream and create new possibilities, first on paper and then in real life. It lets you sort through some of the big ones. Writing them down clarifies the key points that need action. It lets you formulate a plan for action and it lets you dream bigger than life. Because "if you shoot for the moon and you miss, you will still be among the stars." And blogging gives me a time to focus on my thoughts and develop one or two of them before I return to the busy-ness that takes over all of our lives. Brian Souza says "...if we are not careful, we can very easily fall into the trap of focusing all our energies on making progress on our daily to-do lists rather than fulfilling our heart's deepest desires." I am good at the former and working on the latter.

What Is It That I Am Longing For?

Barbara Sher talks about our feeling that "growing up has stolen something of enormous value from you", in her book It's Only Too Late If You Don't Start Now. never occurred to me but as soon as I read that statement I locked in on it but still had difficulty defining what it was that was stolen from me. Read on. She will hit another point of clarity with this statement. "We have never forgotten the special freedom of childhood and we miss it, deeply". Hmmmm...again. She then arrives at the fact that it is that delicious sense of childhood wonder that we miss...."an adult dose of exciting thoughts, full strength intellectual and creative stimulation." That is why we crave travel to new lands, artistic endeavors and the attainment of heart racing new physical feats. We want to feel that mental excitement all over again.

We want to have the freedom "to go for our dreams and to rediscover your original self that got buried under the seductions of achievement and family." In her book, Barbara is so eloquent that I find my thoughts reflected on the pages of her book. She believes that you can get your sense of wonder back without leaving your current world and that when you have it back then you can travel and create and learn and feel like a child all over again. I like that.
I read her book just after I turned 40. I thought it was all right. I guess I was not ready to hear all that she had to say. I am fifty plus now and I am ready.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

5 Year Plan

I have a five year goal to take early retirement from my reasonably pleasant job and now I need to create a step by step plan to arrive at that goal. I thought I would like to travel for an extended period of time when I retire. Five years or is actually hard to put a time value on this as I have no certainty that I will enjoy travelling for a long time. I would like to come and go until I no longer can. I have no desire to live opulently abroad but rather to live simply and close to the essence of wherever I am. Cooking lessons in China, Italy, and France are certainly on the agenda but I would not be above working for free in the kitchen of a restaurant that would let me watch them work their craft.
I might like to practice yoga in India and learn to meditate. (Right now when I try to meditate my chronic list invades the quiet space and takes over.) The magic of all this is that anything is possible! I can decide to try something or go somewhere and immediately I can go try it. Within reason of course. Swimming in all 5 oceans is a fun thought as I love swimming. The Arctic will challenge me but maybe I will do a polar bear swim up there one day. (5 seconds or less in duration then right into a hot tub.) I have swam in two of the Oceans already-the Atlantic and the Pacific. Three more to go.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Going Forward while Looking Back

I was sitting with my sons this evening talking and I realized how amazing these days actually are right here and now. It is important as I stretch to find the future passion in my life that I continue to be grateful for the joy that exists in the present. They are teenagers now and we are all starting to feel our wings (again). My whole existence has been about them and now I am going to fly again never forgetting that these are the good old days. I have enjoyed every minute of the ride that was bringing them to this point but now it is almost over. How bittersweet the moment. Part of me wants to fly and part of me wants to go back to those innocent simple days when they were all mine and depended on me for everything. And the other part wants to explore the world and see and live new experiences that make my heart sing. Flying through life with only my own needs to think about. Hmmmm....

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Taking Action

In my last post I talked about living boldly and for the last two mornings I have seen my message hanging on my mirror when I arose. (I have posted a card on my mirror that says LIVE BOLDLY! )To live boldly I have to specify actions that represent Living Boldly for me. Living Boldly is trying something new every day and making those new things BOLD things. I have to live Boldly in the context of my current life as to suddenly up and change everything would be quite disturbing for the family who depends on me to keep the boat afloat. So I have been doing new things each day. (Since early December) I recognize that they are new because there is usually some fear and trepidation in my approach to them. I recognize the emergence of my avoidance response when I go to do the things that are new and bold. (Could it be true that I am my own worst enemy). On one hand that fear makes me look carefully at the action to see if it will somehow put us in peril. But most of the time it is empty fear disguised as prudence. I have an action list now. I am taking firm steps to start the business that has sat on the back burner for a while, I am planning an adventure with a friend so that I can go to a place that energizes me as much as it makes me nervous. And each day I do at least one small to medium new thing that replenishes my soul and makes it sing. Suzanne Braun Levine(author of Inventing the Rest of Our Lives) says that if you turned 50 within the last 5 years or so, you have a 40% chance of living to be 100 years old. Good data. I want to do that.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Live Boldly

Brian Souza talks about Ted Leonsis of America Online who experienced a life changing moment as his plane crashed in 1983. "He promised himself that if he survived, he would play offense--live as boldly as possible-- for the rest of his life." Live Boldly. I am working to define that for me. It means trying the things that I have been waiting(for what) to do. It means getting my Ph.D.; it means starting that business that I keep thinking about; it means choosing one place(of many) that I had wanted to go and going. I love that phrase--Live Boldly. I am going to inscribe it on a card and hang it on my mirror so it is the first thing I see in the morning when I wake up. I want to live boldly. I want to spend the next thirty years of my life trying new things--new foods, new places, new music, new ideas, and new friends(still planning to keep the old ones). I made my bucket list and it has almost 50 things that I would like to do before I die....50 things and 30 years....I better get started.

Tentative Optimism

I am composing this at my desk as I look out on the blanket of snow that came through the night. Part of my plan for the future involves not spending 4 months in the snow. Maybe 1 month tops. That means my retirement will need to put me in a warm climate three months a year. I cannot decide if that is goal setting or wishful thinking but I will add that to my list of retirement parameters. I am not a snowbird type. I like to do indigenous things in the chosen destination so it would be great to explore that option as part of the plan for my Second Act. Stephan Pollan writes about Second Acts in his book by the same name. He provides some excellent methods for finding exactly what you would like your second act to entail. I am exploring my own options and I have to say it is an exciting journey. Pollan wants you to list your passions and it is only recently that I have the time to realize that I have passions. Define your passions and work to incorporate more of them into your day to day life. It will surprise you how quickly the ball gets rolling and you discover more passions in the process. Once you add one passion to your day, it gets easier and easier to discover and add others. One simple step towards discovering my currently invisible Second Act.

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