Archive | June 2012

Don’t Waste a Minute

Many hours are spent practicing and rehearsing before any performance or presentation appears before a live audience. Preparation includes such tasks as building the sets, practicing lines, doing hair and makeup, and much more.

Prior to a live performance, a dress rehearsal is used to create the same look and feel of the anticipated live show, and ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. It is defined as follows:

A rehearsal of a play or other performance in costume and with scenery, properties, and lights arranged and operated as for a performance: often the final rehearsal. A session of exercise, drill, or practice, usually private, in preparation for a public performance, ceremony, etc.: a play rehearsal; a wedding rehearsal.

Wedding rehearsals represent another good example of how we choreograph an event to resemble the real thing. Here, we practice walking down the aisle, stating our vows, and making adjustments to avoid any mistakes on the big day.

However, these are just the details. Although it is important to be prepared, what really matters is the emotional bond occurring by marrying your loved one, and being surrounded by the warmth and support of family and friends.

We have all probably heard the expression; life is not a dress rehearsal. These inspirational words remind us to put our whole heart into everything we do in life, because it’s the only time we have. Each moment can never be repeated, so let’s be sure to live it in the best way possible. It is important to make good use of our time, as it goes by very quickly.

Therefore, if the show we are starring in is not to our liking, we can make changes, rather than putting on a performance for public consumption.

It’s possible to reach beyond the ego, to humbly let go of anger, frustration, and any number of other negative emotions, in order to bring our youthful exuberance back to life.

Action Step:

Are you wasting time, thinking there will always be tomorrow? Today, be more proactive and like a director, arrange things more to your liking.

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Take a Vacation from Your Problems

Do you remember the movie “What About Bob?”  It came out in 1991 starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss. It portrays a successful psychiatrist who loses his mind after one of his incessantly dependent patients tracks him down on vacation and refuses to leave.

Not only is the movie very funny, but it has some real pearls of wisdom in it as well. For example, Dr. Leo Marvin (played by Dreyfuss) has written a book entitled Baby Steps, and is describing it to his patient Bob Wiley (played by Murray) in the following way:

Baby steps means setting small, reasonable goals for yourself. One day at a time, one tiny step at a time—doable, accomplishable goals. When you leave this office, don’t think about everything you have to do to get out of the building, just deal with getting out of the room. When you reach the hall, just deal with the hall. And so forth…baby steps.

This simple concept has proven to be very meaningful to many people who use it, and is at the heart of achieving desired changes in one’s life.

Dreyfuss’ character goes on to discuss the concept of “taking a vacation from our problems.” Isn’t that basically what we all want to do; take a vacation from the daily stresses that are often associated with career obligations, household duties, and other life responsibilities? 

Summer is a great time to take a vacation from our problems! When this time of year arrives, the focus turns to vacation spots rather than our usual concerns of the day. Summer seems to signal and mark the welcome arrival of planning our relaxation.

This is a time to change up our routines, and put the emphasis on fun and outdoor activities. For certain parts of the country, it is a time to bloom and return from winter hibernation to embrace the long awaited warm weather. For others, however, summer weather means a time to escape the high temperatures, and head out for cooler places.

Regardless of our location, we all share the common need of relaxation. Although it is nice to have a consistent vacation spot, it can be exciting to mix it up as well. For example, my husband and I are planning to join two other couples this year at a family lake home.

As a child, there were many visits to our neighbor’s lake home where we did a great deal of water skiing. Initially, the only focus was the number of attempts it took to stay up on the skis and once accomplished, it was truly exhilarating.

I don’t think there is a wrong way to spend vacations. However, if you find yourself becoming overwhelmed with the details, just remember to take baby steps, and one by one, you will move nearer to your destination. Similarly, taking small steps toward living in vacation mode all year long, with regularly scheduled enjoyment, would be a worthwhile adventure as well.

Action Step:

Take one small baby step today toward ‘vacationing’ from your problems.

Be Constructive with Criticism

Remember the expression, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all?” Although, “don’t say anything at all” is not a good strategy in all situations, we can choose to deliver necessary truths with grace and love.

Constructive criticism can be character building, while cruel criticism or blunt honesty can be damaging to the self-confidence of others. We can all agree that there’s a world of difference between a negative remark and loving direction. It is certainly feasible to advise others against certain actions, or provide choices to avoid specific consequences, without it being demeaning or disrespectful.

If you feel that you might be about to say something detrimental, simply pause and think about what you are about to say. When in doubt, always choose kindness and be as constructive as possible with your comments. As a result, you will feel better about yourself, and most likely help someone else feel better about him or herself as well.

Additionally, be sure to have these conversations one-on-one, to avoid the embarrassment of your recipient receiving criticism in the company of others. Although you don’t want to confuse courtesy with the enabling of others by telling them what they wish to hear, it is important to treat others with the utmost respect. Take care to use your words wisely, and as a healing mechanism, and make sure that they address the behavior rather than the character of the recipient.

This applies to gossip as well. Even though it does not involve criticizing someone directly to his or her face, it is still a very damaging energy and practice for all concerned. Consider if your speaking about someone is truly in the spirit of concern, if not, then it is better to leave your words unexpressed.

On the other hand, if others should criticize you, look to see if there is any merit to what they are saying. If not, avoid taking it personally. Whether you choose to respond or not, try and develop a kind and peaceful approach in your choice of thoughts and words.

Action Step:

Be kind and rewind the negative statement you are about to make. Change it to something that is more constructive, and likely to be more helpful to the other person.

Write a Life Purpose Statement

Many of us have heard the term, mission statement, particularly in reference to the corporate culture. It is defined as, ‘A summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual.’ A mission statement is a brief description of our fundamental purpose and answers the question, “Why do we exist?”

A vision statement on the other hand, answers the question, “Where do we want to go?” It creates a picture of the future and the framework for all strategic planning. Creating a vision statement allows us to declare our hopes and dreams. It guides us toward our desired outcome and what we are trying to build.

Why all this talk about mission and vision statements?

Because both statements provide the clarity and direction needed in order to achieve what we desire. Many of us have a vision of what we want to accomplish, but still need to articulate, formalize and strategize around it.

Therefore, I thought it would be interesting to combine the mission and vision statements into one, and title it our life purpose statement. It can be used in much the same way that successful companies utilize their goal setting declarations for guiding the direction of their businesses. You can think of it as a photograph in words for your future.

I’ve created the following sample life purpose statement, which states my desires, as well as the steps I’d need to take in order to make them a reality:

I desire to live a holistic life that nurtures my mind, body, and spirit, while inspiring those around me. In order to accomplish this work of love, I will increase my self-care efforts by continuing to improve my thinking, honoring my physical health, and connecting daily with a spiritual practice. The resultant energy and love from my actions will positively affect the quality of my own life, and all those I come in contact with.  

Action step:

I encourage you to write a life purpose statement. Personalize it as much as possible by using your own unique style.

Telephone Class Coaching Event

I have received many requests to perform a coaching class based on the material presented in this blog. I really appreciate the positive response, and as a result, have put together a coaching event, scheduled for July 18th.

There has been a particularly high interest in the post entitled, Shine Your Light, so I have chosen to use that as the basis for our discussion. Tele-classes are a wonderful way to assemble a wide variety of people from many backgrounds and geographic locations. The course offers you a way to enhance your current understanding of the material, while doing so from the privacy of your own home.

Judging from the very thoughtful comments I have received thus far, I anticipate a very inspirational and lively discussion.

Additionally, I will introduce an exercise that will bring out your best, and help you to ‘Shine Your Light’, as you live your most authentic life possible!

The course will be held via a bridge line, in a conference call format.  As the date draws near, I will send each registrant the applicable phone number to access the class.

For more specific information regarding class time and registration, please click here to reach my website.

I look forward to all of the wonderful sharing!

Blessings,

Cathie

Embrace the Moment

Many of us have probably had the experience of being instantly transported back in time, when we hear a certain song. That song seems to have the power to immediately reconnect us to a time and place when we first heard it and any associations surrounding it.

Or, we have certain songs that elicit a strong emotional response due to their beautiful lyrics, and are not necessarily associated with a past experience. For example, the song, I Hope You Dance, by Lee Ann Womack does that for me (abbreviated lyrics are listed below), and is not attached to a certain time or situation in my life specifically.

However, the wisdom and serenity in the words imparts many great messages such as:

  • Living in the moment
  • Letting go
  • Dancing or doing any activity that releases our cares
  • Remaining an active participant in our own life, despite any obstacles
  • Not letting life pass us by
  • Remaining in a state of wonder and appreciation
  • Resisting living in bitterness or disillusionment

The beauty in music is that it opens us up to various interpretations, but what’s important is the special meaning it has for each of us. I like the dance reference in the song, and metaphorically speaking, the words remind us that in life, it is occasionally nice to sit in the audience, but we also need to be part of the performance as well.

For example, I took dancing lessons as a child, and provided recitals for my family and friends. When I look back over those moments, I enjoy the image they represent, and re-living the experience of letting go. Dancing allowed me to be totally in the moment when I was performing, and when watching other performers as well.

During those few moments on stage, I was completely free of any thoughts of the past or worries about the future, and just enjoying the experience. Although not everyone associates letting go or living in the moment with dancing, we can all point to something that puts us in that particular state of mind.

For some, it might be playing an instrument, painting a portrait, or being engrossed in a good book.

In those moments, you lose all sense of time and all of your concerns melt away. One could say that you lose yourself, only to find yourself a far richer and more evolved person as a result of these experiences.

Song lyrics

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean

Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances, but they’re worth taking
Loving might be a mistake, but it’s worth making
Don’t let some Hell bent heart leave you bitter

When you come close to selling out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

Action Step:

I hope you dance!

 

Find Your Bliss

There are some really interesting, fun, and informative blogs out there. It is educational and enlightening to see all of the different ways people choose to live each day, and all the diverse ways in which they experience life. It can be tempting to think that everyone spends their time in the same way we do.

I find it amazing how different our lives can look and yet our needs are pretty much the same. We all most likely want to be loved, acknowledged and accepted. However, we all go about getting those needs met in different ways. It can be interesting to reflect upon the fact that we don’t all live the same cookie cutter existence.

So, thanks for sharing all of the various ways we can live our lives through your blogs. It is fun to see all of the diversity through those who are skilled photographers, artists, writers, etc.

If we could hear everyone’s life story, it would be fascinating to see how people ended up where they are in life and their chosen hobbies or careers.  I always enjoy hearing how someone’s life unfolded, as they evolved from being kids to becoming movie stars, professional athletes, etc. It is such an important process to find out what is at the heart, creativity and passions in each of us.

For example, many people love to create and experience the feeling of seeing a project evolve from the ground up. To see what started as a mere idea or thought in our imagination, and then watch it come to life, through our own specific form of expression, is truly a wonderful experience. Others may choose to climb mountains, swim with the dolphins, travel to exotic places, or simply relax and just “be” with what is.

So, it is important not to label the lifestyles of others or ourselves as being right or wrong, or good or bad. The beauty is that we all don’t choose the same way to live and as a result, we aren’t all competing for the same house, career or relationship. Thankfully, we all have different talents and abilities to bring to the world and share with one another.

The key is to find your own particular bliss, passion, and style, and live in a way that is congruent with who you at the core. Personal growth is not necessarily meant to change who you are at the core, but to help you to live as you are at the core.

For example, if you are living in the city but love the country, or living in the desert when you love the water, then it is important to put yourself in the environment that is in alignment with who you really are. Therefore, internal growth means matching your internal calling or what innately brings you joy, to your external location or circumstance.

Today, our external situations may not be ideal and match what we ultimately want to be doing or where we ultimately want to be living. This may be because we have certain family demands, careers, or any number of temporary situations that need our attention at this point in time. However, we ultimately need to align ourselves with our true desires and then head in that direction.

Action Step:

Are you living in alignment with what brings you joy? What can you do today to help align yourself with what is true for you?