Find Time

I’m all about creating “found time” these days.

One way I do this is by padding my schedule with extra drive time so I can slow down and not be affected by traffic.  If it takes twenty minutes to get where I’m going, I give myself thirty or forty. Now, if I catch every light red, or get stuck behind a slow poke, there’s no anxiety.

If it takes me an hour to get ready, I give myself an hour and a half. This allows time to deal with a mascara emergency, or a wardrobe malfunction.

I’ve examined all areas of my life where I can add a few extra minutes here or there to all my tasks, and it’s like magic. I don’t rush and I don’t worry or fret. And I still get everything done.

Now I have pockets of extra minutes in my day to think, to daydream, to puzzle things out…to let my mind relax–which is a sure way to cultivate creativity!

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Listen…

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…can you hear that snowflake hit the ground?

I know I’m a few days early for a New Year’s Resolution post. But that’s not really what this is. This is a post about making a positive lifestyle change. A permanent change. A change that will make me a better person.

It won’t be easy. The important things never are.

As decent human beings, we strive to learn, to do good things, and be better people. Becoming our authentic selves takes time, dedication, and—what I’ve realized lately—it takes good listening skills.

We are all guilty of interrupting our companion to interject our next thought, our next idea. With close friends and family, it is a dance we do, and it is generally accepted and expected. There’s a rhythm and a flow to these conversations.

But what about with strangers? I’m one of those people who have trouble remembering names. I think it’s because I don’t listen well enough. I’m too busy being shy and insecure. Being an introvert. I’ve been too busy listening to the negative speak in my head…no one wants to hear what I have to say…no one will remember my face, my words, or my ideas…

I’m over that now.

Now I’m ready to grow into a better listener. I’m ready to sit in the stillness between the words and soak them in. Be mindful. Give the words as much time and space as they need to take up residency in my memory. Slow down. Be in the moment. So rather than answer reflexively with platitudes, I can respond with thoughtful confidence, praise with genuine heart, and comfort with loving care.

I want to learn to listen so hard that I can hear snow flakes falling, fish swimming under the surface of the water, and leaves hitting the ground.

Wish me luck! Mindful listening is the new black.

You heard it here first, folks. winky-kiss

 

 

Please stop the GROSSNESS!

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I don’t rant often. My last one (about paper towels) was posted two years ago.

But I can stay silent on the abc (already been chewed) chewing gum epidemic no more.

This is the ghastly sight I see when walking up to the front door of my local drug store. Come on, people! Seriously?! You just spit your foul gum onto the sidewalk for others to step in? GROSS. Grow up already.

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Just because your mommy isn’t there with her hand held out – to take your sticky gum – like when you were a kid, doesn’t mean it’s okay to throw it on the ground. There are garbage cans outside most stores. There are store receipts in your purse or pocket that work perfectly well for this purpose…there are tissues, new and used, scraps of paper everywhere…but a healthy percentage of you think the best idea is to spit your nasty gum on the ground?

Even if I don’t step on your disgusting refuse while it’s still wet (which is a whole other rant) I will step on it because THERE’S SO MUCH… so many of you seem to do this that it’s damn near impossible to avoid stepping on it.

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PLEASE. PLEASE. PLEASE. Stop the grossness! If you can’t throw away your used chewing gum in a proper way, then STOP CHEWING IT!

Thank you.

End of rant.

One Good Thing

WTWAMy new motto is; “Do One Good Thing” for myself every day. Because, let’s face it, if I don’t take care of me, and make myself feel special, it’s likely not going to happen. That’s not a dig on my sweet husband (who is my biggest advocate and cheerleader, or my friends and family), but it speaks to the truth that I must feel worthy, by treating myself special, before anyone else can. Anyway.

This past week, I did one good thing for myself all week long! I attended my first writer’s academy (not a conference—big difference). West Texas Writer’s Academy in Canyon, Texas. #WTWA

Everything from the campus, to the faculty, to the food and the other writers, met or far exceeded my expectations. I’d  heard ‘this was the best thing I’ve ever done for my writing’ from more than one person beforehand, and I came away with the exact same sentiment.

Wow! Every day my brain was filled to capacity with information that, when put into practice, will make me a better writer. It was the most positive, supportive environment I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing, and the friendships I made will be with me a lifetime—that’s what happens when you find your tribe. I’m already looking forward to attending again and again, and putting into practice the long-term goals the week helped me define.

Do yourself a couple of favors; do one good thing for yourself today, and every day. Then, go find your tribe.

You’ll thank me, and you’ll be better equipped to go out and do one good thing for someone else…which is the reason I believe we’re here.