Thursday, July 29, 2010

Free Hugs

A good friend sent me this and I thought it worth watching. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Symbols of Freedom

Yesterday I bought a new car. I have never been a car person. For the most part if the car starts when I turn the key, I am okay with whatever I am driving. This car was different. It is the car I have admired from afar with no real intentions of ever having one. Just looking.

It is a convertible. Somewhat symbolic in the sequence of cars that have passed through my life...various vans and larger cars with room for hockey bags, knapsacks,luggage and golf clubs for my children and their large varied group of friends whom I have driven around in the last 20 years. On the new car, when the hood is down there is no room in the trunk for my purse (bit of exaggeration but you get the idea).

The car is about how it feels, not how it looks. (Although I did analyze my reasoning on this before buying the car.) I think I am about how it feels and how it fits with my quest for personal freedom. Freedom from being who I should be. Freedom from expectations. Freedom from financial obligations. Freedom from work that pays the bills but does not feed my soul.

When I look at my life, it is so great in so many ways. Maybe this dissatisfaction with a satisfying life is a catalyst to rocket me to the new place that represents the next stage in my development. Van Breathnach thinks the world sees behaviors such as this as a midlife crisis of sorts. She says that it is not a midlife crisis but rather a precursor to creating a new life that fits with the person who you have become. We created a life when we were young that suited who we were then. And we are still living it now even though we have become someone else. So it doesn't fit anymore and therein lies the source of our dissatisfaction.

What fun it is to create the new life. Consciously evaluating all the things that make your heart sing! Then slowly but surely making those things a part of my life. Then to work the financial side of it to support the lifestyle I am creating.

Here's to symbols of freedom! They make you able to see and touch a part of the nebulous cloud that you are moving towards.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pushing Against Myself

I went to the Canadian Open today. I was not planning to. The tickets were available and there was no one to take them. I woke up this morning and looked at the drive and the whole day and felt like I did not want to go. It seemed to be too much trouble. But I went.

I had the best time! I saw new things that I had not experienced. I had a great time with my teenage son. Fits right in with my goal of experiencing new things. I was outdoors all day on a sunny, warm day. It was truly unbeatable.

But I want to go back and analyze my distinct reticence about going. Trying new things brings out a strange resistance in me. An actual feeling of not wanting to go. Looking for reasons why I shouldn't. Thinking of the chaos of the large group of people. Parking. Highway driving. Easier to stay home. I thought of all the reasons it would not make sense to go. Where does that resistance come from?

New memo to self. Watch and conquer this resistance. It keeps me where I am and inhibits my plan to experience new things. Interesting how I can be my own foil. Helps to be honest with yourself about how you behave. It lets you face your demons and realize they are not frightening at all!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Happiness and Joy

A fascinating distinction between the definition of two words that on first blush seem synonymous. Happiness and joy would seem to be minor variations of feeling good.

Look deeper and read the book "Something More" by Sarah Ban Breathnach. She defines Happiness as a feeling often "triggered by an external event. You got the job, he loved you back, you were approved for your mortgage application." Events that happen as you hoped they would. You asked for something and you got it and now you are feeling happiness.

Although Joy seems like simply a heavenly permutation of happiness it is more. Simply stated, "Joy is the absence of fear." No matter what outcome you achieve from your efforts, you recognize that that outcome is the right one. If you did not get the result that you were hoping to get, there is a new and better result awaiting you. "Something better, something richer, something deeper". A profound acceptance of what is.

The absence of fear is a profound state of joy. No longer do you fear losing your job, losing all your money, having your children move away. When you reach that state of acceptance of what is and see each change as an opportunity to take a new path, there is no longer fear. When fear goes, joy rushes in to fill the space.

Fear reflects our resistance to change. And the fact that we like to control our outcomes. This goes back to a previous blog entry on finding the middle ground between managing your outcomes and letting life happen as it should. We want what we want. And sometimes we do not get it. Look forward, not back when this happens. There is more waiting for you. Looking back is about control, regret, unhappiness. A negative spiral of inactivity.

I am able to achieve this joy in rare enviable moments and these brief moments inspire me to reach for a longer extended version of that joy. It is like eating chocolate. It just feels good. I want more.

Photo compliments of

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Trying New Things

I was reading 500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference. Part of the plan now. From tagging marine life to teaching English on a short term basis to spending a month on a archeological dig, it provides an endless source of intriguing ways to spend your time after work. And make a difference. No long term commitment. You work 2-3 weeks on a project. You can return to a site anytime if there is one that excites you. They are landed costs only so no airline ticket is included. They involve travel all over the world. Some of them are expensive and some are free. Most of them cost something but there are some free opportunities as well.

There is an airline ticket on a separate site that costs between $6000-8000 and you can travel around the world for a year with this ticket. There is a neat app on the site that lets you map out your route. You choose your route and destinations and that is it. Go to to explore the routes you can take and feed your imagination with the possiblities. The very act of planning a route makes you realize how big the world is and how much there is to experience. And, as an aside how little time.

Teach swimming to children in Fiji. (Did you know that drowning is the leading cause of death in young people in Fiji?) Caring for baby elephants in Sri Lanka. Definitely fits with my goal of trying new things. But not too dangerous. I have no desire to be, say, on a war front as a journalist. But I do crave new experiences. I prefer to be immersed in a culture rather than being a tourist and that is what these programs will do. You work alongside the people who live there and they train you with any skills they would like you to have.

I am going to build a dozen of these experiences into my early retirement plan. Who knows? I may love it enough to continue on year after year until I cannot.

Monday, July 12, 2010


I was reading Robin Sharma today. I like his stuff. I always find a piece of something that I can use. Here is the one for today. (I have paraphrased his thoughts. I hope I do him justice) Life is a delicate balance between making things happen and letting things happen. Too much of either side is not desirable. On one side you seek to control your outcomes too much. On the other you just let life carry you in the current.

Robin says that "Life will always lead you to a better place". If things do not work out the way you had hoped, after you have given it your all, then sit back and let whatever is happening, just happen. Harder to do than it sounds when you have a vested interest in your outcome. That second click is the sound of a door opening to a new path. "Because every ending ushers in a brand-new beginning". I love that thought. The idea to trust that life really is going to work out is pretty phenomenal. The proof is that as I look back on my life, the outcomes that I thought I did not want led me to a good place.

Try to apply this thinking when something in life does not go the way you had planned. It is tough but if you do it you will find yourself in a place of relaxation and peace. That lets you see the next possibility and lets you hear that little second click as the new path is illuminated. Results in a sort of que sera feeling. You trust that this outcome did not happen as you had planned but that there is a new adventure waiting just ahead. Great way to view life. One adventure after another. What should I choose to do next.

Creating a new path lets you look forward instead of wishing for what was. Sometimes what was, was not all that great in retrospect. Kind of the devil you know though. If we take away one thought from this, it is to trust that it will all work out. Zen.

From Robin Sharma "The Greatness Guide"

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


There is a line in the movie "The Natural" that is significant. "I believe we have two lives. The life we learn with, and the life we live after that." How profound. This life to date has been all about learning how to live. Now we get to do it! What fun that predicts for the future. If I have 20 years or so left...what do I still need to see. Like being in Rome and you only have a week left. What are the things you still need to see before you go home.

In the book "Something More" Sarah Ban Breathnach calls the restlessness before we grow, our premagnificent stage. The restless time right before we break out into our second life. The time when we look at our lives and they are not so bad but now we want something more. More what? I don't know.It is funny to look at how much I have, how positive my life is and wonder why I want to shake it up. She gives you permission to say it is okay to want more and okay to feel discontent. If between now and this day 2011, we did one new thing each day what would our world look like then? Definitely different. 365 new choices...1 each day. Sounds like fun!

Breathnach also speaks of Divine Discontent. "Discontent and disorder are signs of energy and hope, not despair." She speaks of feeling exposed and fragile. This is the turmoil that you feel in your premagnificent stage. If you view this turmoil as the time before your big breakout then it seems like a positive thing. Neat way to view it. About to launch Book 2. Book 1 was very good. I am looking for some unique new experiences in Book 2.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New Goal

I am away at the cottage for some much needed R&R. Good friends. Good food. Good wine. Shared a great wine with friends last night. A 2007 Seghesio Family Vineyards Zinfandel. The sum of the wine, the food, the friends equalled an amazing night last night. It was one of those moments when it all came together. Those are special moments. Friends from 40 years ago. Still friends. Lucky us.

This is a great break from the business stress and pressure. But it does not stop while I am away. Still making arrangements with our packer from the US. The product in its finished form will be shipping next week. That also means some welcome influx of cash. My sales manager is prepping the shipments. We are a bonified business. My new goal is to achieve 500 new accounts. That will create a great pull on the inventory and a reasonable offset to the debt the company has incurred to date. I am going to meet with my sales manager when I return to share the new goal with her. 500 accounts. We currently have about 160 accounts so it is not unachievable depending on the sales group choices to remain with us or leave us when the contract expires. Either way we go forward to our 500 goal. Lofty but not impossible. I put it in writing and shared it with the world so it makes it that much more powerful.

Setting a goal in that way makes everything you do need to point in that direction. Each action needs to move us closer to the goal. We need to ask...does that action get us another store or stores? If not we need to move forward on actions that do. Already I am feeling pulled in the right direction. My enthusiasm and momentum are focused on that goal. 500. It's out there.
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