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Category: Getting To Enough

abundance and lack, moves toward a simpler life, “I am enough”

GRATITUDE IS A CHOICE

GRATITUDE IS A CHOICE

Gratitude is a choice, but why would you choose it?

In recent years there have been systematic scientific studies of gratitude and its positive effects.  These studies show that grateful people are happier, more open and sociable, less depressed and neurotic and express higher levels of satisfaction with their lives and relationships.

Grateful people also show higher levels of growth and self-acceptance and stronger coping skills for challenges and set-backs.

The ones who carry on with master motivation speaker Zig Ziglar’s “attitude of gratitude” mindset share a greater willingness to seek out help from others.  They spend more time planning how to address issues.  They demonstrate the ability to interpret challenging events in ways that help them grow.

gratitude-road
“Gratitude Road” by Bart Maguire via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
Here’s the late Zig Ziglar at his best in a YouTube video published by Rising Tide.  His anecdote about an unhappy, vitriolic woman who hated her job and what happened to her when she chose gratitude is eye-opening.

“You can’t change other people,” Ziglar points out.  “You can only change yourself.

WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE?

Here’s another interesting take on gratitude.  This “Experiment In Gratitude” You-Tube video was put together by SoulPancake  for their “The Science of Happiness” project.  It was created by Mike Bernstein and Matt Pittman.

The biggest takeaway from this thing is the thought that the person who was least happy that day experienced the greatest rise in felt happiness.  That’s a powerful thing.

SoulPancake is a digital media and production company that “creates content that explores life’s big questions, celebrates humanity, and champions creativity with integrity heart and humor,” it says on their Facebook company overview.

Named one of FastCompany’s Top 10 Most Innovative Video Companies of 2015, they target the “Optimistic Millenial.”  Their work has something for all of us, I am thinking.  Among their series of more than thirty assorted video formats are sprightly-named things like “Kid President,” “What She Said,” “Highly Evolved Human,” and “Metaphysical Milkshake.”

They’ve even put out a book, SOULPANCAKE:  Chew on Life’s Big Questions, by Rainn Wilson, Devon Gundry, Golriz Lucina and Shabnam Mogharabi.

GRATITUDE GROWS HAPPY

Taking stock of the many people, experiences and things that are good, right and working well in our lives is uplifting.   Apparently, elevating your awareness of what’s right with the world rather than focusing on what’s wrong, you come to realize that happiness really is already right there, all around you.

An attitude of gratitude also has an uncanny way of attracting more good to you.  What we focus on grows, and focusing on simple pleasures – on the good we are experiencing here, now, today – can work wonders.

Dave Ramsey has been called “America’s trusted voice on money” and is a bestselling author and radio host.   Among his numerous bestselling books is THE TOTAL MONEY MAKEOVER:  A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness.

In this YouTube video, “Contentment and Gratitude,” Ramsey is doing one of his annual Thanksgiving radio broadcasts.  He lays out the arguments for carrying an attitude of gratitude around with you.  As he points out in the video, helping grateful people makes other people happy and they tend to go out of their way to help some more.

WHAT YOU FOCUS ON GROWS

What you focus on grows.  You can consciously focus on what you’re thankful for rather than on what frustrates you.  If you maintain positive thoughts and grow a positive mental attitude, if you consistently engage in positive action, then eventually it becomes easier and easier to be a positive person.

Life milestones are great.  Hammering your latest goal, receiving some coveted prize, getting rewarded for the hard work you’ve put in, getting that house or car or latest electronic wonder you’ve been drooling over…all of these things are worth celebrating.

However, celebrating these life milestones is not a substitute for a foundation of gratitude that leads us to more consistent happiness.

EXERCISES FOR YOU TO TRY

  1. MAKE A LIST. Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Yet another list.  Every day (either in the morning when you first get up or in the evening before going to bed), write down three things for which you are grateful.  Just three.  Every day.

I’ve done it both ways.  If you do it in the morning, your day starts out suddenly brighter and more shiny.  If you do it just before going to sleep, then sleep comes easier and when you wake up the list is right there waiting to remind you of the good things in your life.  A bonus, two-for-the-price-of-one move.

  1. PUMP OUT THE JUICE. Take the time to express something beyond a generic thank-you.  Personalize your authentic gratitude.  Share your appreciation for somebody’s unique qualities and their specific impact on your life.

Mix up your heart in it.  What comes from the heart will hit another heart.  Do that.  (It’s a good thing.)

  1. CELEBRATE THANKSGIVING 365. On his Thanksgiving radio shows, Dave Ramsey asks his callers to share one thing for which they are grateful before they can ask their questions or address their concerns.  This “tradition” might be a good thing to try your own self.

Before every evening meal, at the end of the day, whether you are alone or with someone, think on some things for which you’re grateful.  If you’re with other people, share your best good thing and get them to share theirs as well.  Ask, “What’s one good thing that happened today?  What are you grateful for?”

Make it a ritual.  It will go a long way to help diffuse the stresses of the day and to reconnect to each other as well as help prepare your bodies to enjoy the food before you.  (After all, as some guy in yet another lab coat will probably tell you, bodies that are relaxed digest food better.)

Here’s a poem:


BLESSINGS

Hanging ten on the edge of dissolution,

Staring into the maw of the Creative Dark, po panopano.

Sitting here almost brain-dead and drained,

I got to thinking how the other people in my life

Have shaped me, helped me shape my world.

 

It is a good thought,

Makes me want to throw my fist up in the air,

A warrior’s salute and celebration.

Makes me want to dance on the edge again.

Gives me heart.

 

I bless them all, those people….

 

I bless the loving people in my life

The ones who helped smooth my way,

The warm and generous ones,

The ones who were kind.

 

I bless the strong people in my life,

The ones who kept their promises,

The ones who let me lean on their strength,

The self-sufficient ones, the peaceable ones.

 

I bless the good people in my life,

Most wondrous of all the gifts

From this old Universe.

On the edge of the void,

They make me smile.

by Netta Kanoho

Header photo credit:  “Thank You All” by Don McCullough via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0], a 2015 farewell picture and thank-you to all of his Flickr fans.

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MAKE FEAR YOUR FRIEND

MAKE FEAR YOUR FRIEND

It has been said that fear is a sign that something is important to you.

FEAR AS A SIGNPOST

Ted Gonder, director of MoneyThink, a Chicago-based non-profit that teaches financial skills and entrepreneurial thinking to urban high school students, assures us, “If we think of fear as an accomplice rather than an enemy, then we can be free to lean into it, and pursue our dreams, ideas and projects freely.”

This counterintuitive mindset does actually make sense:  If the thing you are most afraid of is also the thing you really and truly want in your life, then you are actually a very lucky person.  You have a built-in guidance system that will tell you when you’re moving in the direction of your dreams.

(You’ll know you’re on the right road when your head tells you everything is just fine, but your stomach drops to the floor and you’re shaking very badly and there’s a no-no-no-no-no chant cycling in your head.)

If you are able to twist your head around enough so that you can see this, then a number of other ideas arise.  You begin to understand that:

  1.  Fear is a tool.
  2.  Fear is fuel.
  3.  Fear is to be partnered with.

You may even get the idea that you are going to have to walk into your fears and through them in order to get to where you really want to be.  You get to understanding that you have to want your dream more than you fear it and you’ll use the fears to help you keep on moving towards your dream.

gps
GPS by Hernan Pinera via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]

GETTING TO THE OTHER SIDE OF FEAR

Here’s a YouTube video by Eddie Pinedo, “The Other Side Of Fear” with another take on fear.   Pinedo is a sought-after motivational speaker who focuses on athletic performance.  He also writes a blog, “Your World Within” and publishes weekly You-Tube videos with almost 11 million views, it says here.  (They are excellent.)

So, how do we do that?  How do we get to the “other side of fear?”

Twyla Tharp, in her book, THE CREATIVE HABIT, suggests that you look at the things that make you shake and shiver and that shrivels you into a quaking nubbin, and think about answers or antidotes to them that work for you.

Here’s me doing yet another Un-Seeing exercise:

“I’m not sure how to do it.” 

 [Ummm….when has that ever stopped you?  Babe, you don’t know how to do lots of things.  The things you do know how to do happened because you started doing them and then just kept going with it until you got good.

We are not talking about building a dam across Maliko Gulch or something.  If you try and it doesn’t work, you can try a different way the next time.  And the time after that. And the time after that.  If you do something badly, you will learn one way not to do it and that’s a start towards learning how you do it right.]

“People will think less of me if I screw up.” 

 [Not the people who matter to you.  Your friends will hug you.  Your kids will still call you “mom.”  Your parakeet will still sing to you.  It’s all good….]

“People will laugh at me.”

[So?  Laughter is a kind of communication too.  And if the people are laughing with you rather than at you, isn’t that a good thing?]

“It may take too much time.” 

[Could be, might can.  Putting it off doesn’t make it happen faster.  If it’s something you want to do, then make the time.  Ho’omanawanui, bebe…make time big!]

“It’s going to cost money.”

[Just living costs money.  Is it something you really want to do?  That’s the question.  Think of it as an investment in yourself.  It never goes to waste.  Even the things that didn’t work the last time turns out to be useful for the next project.]

“Gawd!  It is SO self-indulgent.” 

[An’ den?  What’s your point?]

“Somebody has done it before.”

[Uh-huh.  It’s all been done before, hon.  Nothing’s really original and every idea ever thunk will be thought again.  You can join the line.  Get over yourself.]

“I have nothing to say.” 

 [Now, that one is a lie!  You have lots to say.  Maybe nobody wants to listen, but that is not relevant when you’re just starting out the gate.]

“I’m going to upset somebody I love if I do this….”

[That could happen.  You’re still a good person and you have good intentions.  Your loves will understand or not, and you’ll do what you need to do to make it right if you make a misstep. 

But, not doing something because maybe somebody important to you will be upset  is giving that person too much responsibility for you and your life.  Why are you piling on your regrets on somebody else’s back, silly git!]

“I know that when I do it, the thing is never going to be as good as this idea in my head is.” 

 [True.  Toughen up, baby girl.  It’s better to make an imperfect dome in Florence than build cathedrals in the sky.  A dream that has stepped out of your head and is real in the world has more weight than all the ones that are still floating around in your head. 

Plus, if it doesn’t work, you can always try again to get it right.  And if you keep trying to get it right, eventually there it’ll be and then you can go share it with your friends.  A cool thing….]

“If I do it well, somebody will copy it and I won’t get what I deserve for it.” 

 [Ack!  That is so disgusting, Netta!  The whole point of making stuff is to get people to like it, use it, do whatever.  So what if other nimnuls copy?  It’s not like it’s your one and only idea, f’r pity’s sake!]

Twyla says, “There’s nothing wrong with fear; the only mistake is to let it stop you in your tracks.”

So, what are your shadows?  What fears pop up every time you start dreaming a dream?  What would you say to them?  What might they say back to you? Play with it…and keep on walking.

Here’s a poem:

 


ORACLES

 

Fear it is that

Keeps us going back

To oracles and them,

And trying to make

Sense of a future

That’s obscure and dim.

 

The mists of time,

We think, hide monsters,

Even though we know

That probably they really

Aren’t under the bed.

Daddy said, Mommy said.

 

We have to see.

We want to know

How this thing or

That will flow, grow.

Desire, doubt and fear,

The three, stomping feet.

 

And we forget again

What we always knew:

Change is the rule,

And not the exception:

Up and down and

All around, it changes.

 

We go on despite…

We go on because…

‘As how…we go.

And change’s alchemy works

Its magic once again

And we go on.

by Netta Kanoho

Header Picture credit:  Signpost by Anthony via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]

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THE BIG PICTURE

THE BIG PICTURE

It occurs to me that it is probably not possible to convince humans to take a long-term view using argument or persuasion or logical thinking.  It seems to me that people focus on long-term because they want to or because they’re tired of hitting themselves upside the head all the time and really tired of having to climb out of potholes that turn out to be really deep and gnarly lava tubes.

LOOKING AT THE BIG PICTURE

You are not going to be able to talk yourself out of going for the short-term advantage if you haven’t developed a vision of The Big Picture.  And the real is that you are the only one who can do that for yourself.

Your Big Picture is not my Big Picture…or anybody else’s Big Picture.

Oh, yeah, you’ll nod your head at other-people wisdoms.  You may even try to make your walk like their walk, especially when you like the way their life looks from the outside.

But, if their vision really doesn’t resonate with you, doesn’t make you hungry, doesn’t make you fly, it never will get the kind of dedication and effort from you that can make it come real.

If the costs that admired one pays for their life is very high, you may not be willing to pay what they’ve had to pay for it.  So you quit doing your version of their vision and you tell yourself whatever it takes to get back to bed and pull the covers over your head.

WHY DO OTHER GUYS AND GALS…..

Medieval cathedral builders labored a lifetime with the fruits of their labors still a hundred years into the future.  The 70-year-old farmer plants a tree his grandkids will sit under.  Parents of young children try to lay a foundation of values and attitude that will serve an adult 20 year later.  A craftsman knows that mastery of an art form takes a lifetime of repetition and effort — whether the work sells or not.

Why do they do it?  Because they want to.  Because they have to.  Because they can’t not.

Here’s one answer.  It’s a YouTube video, “Why Do We Do It?  For the Ride – 2015” published by Official Triumph.  (I just like it for the beauty of it.)

THE REAL DEAL

Visions can take a long time to manifest.  They take concerted, continued effort, often at the expense of here-and-now pleasures and even of other long-term goals and aspirations.

A vision makes a big displacement in your life.  It shoves everything else out of the way.  (Visions are very rude.)

When your head is down and your ass is up and you’re working on building the road to your dream  you may not see a lot of the roadside scenery.  Visions make you blind sometimes.

queen-anne-counterbalance-1934
Queen Anne Counterbalance, 1934 from the Seattle Municipal Archives via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
You may have to break the ties that bind you to a life that does not have room for the pictures you are seeing.

You may have to explode the structures you’ve spent a lifetime building inside yourself to get  yourself ready for the realities of that dream.

You may have to initiate changes in your life that are uncomfortable or  downright painful.

It will take way more time, way more effort, and a whole lot of humping and hustle to build the road to your dream.  And even if you do all that, there is no iron-clad guarantee that the dream will come real.

You may not last long enough or develop the stamina you need to stay the course.  You may get sidetracked.

Circumstances over which you have no control can co-opt you.  Other people could betray you.  The world may change and open doors might slam shut or the detours on the road take you to places where you would rather not be.

detour-sign
Detour by Cody Jung via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
As you get deeper into the dreamscape of your own making you may find that the vision turns hazy or morphs into some ugly nightmare that makes you run the other way.

Visions must be large to be worthy of such commitment.  I suppose that is why it often takes a lot of time and thinking to develop a vision with meaning and mana.

And if they are large, then they’re going to take everything you’ve got to give to it and demand even more from you.

BIGGER THAN JUST YOU

In his book, LIFE ON PURPOSE:  How Living For What Matters Changes Everything, Victor J. Strecher tells a story about Abraham Maslow, the founder of humanistic psychology.

Maslow was the guy who developed the concept of the “hierarchy of human needs.”  He proposed the theory that “self-actualization” was the ultimate stage in human development and numerous studies grew out of it that showed that this high point is, indeed, reachable only after more basic physical or safety needs were met.

This You-Tube video,  “An Introduction to Abraham H. Maslow’s A Theory of Human Motivation” published by Macat, is a short overview of the theory.

Macat is an on-line resource library that partners with the University of Cambridge to “empower development of creative and critical thinking.”  It’s a good site to explore.  They offer a free 30-day trial period for using their services and have developed programs for scholars and for business people.

Maslow’s book, TOWARD A PSYCHOLOGY OF BEING, became a classic.

According to Maslow’s motivation theory there are five interdependent levels of basic human needs that have to be satisfied in a strict sequence.  It says you can’t think of the next level until the needs at the lower levels have been met.

  • Physiological needs for survival and security are first. You need to stay alive and reproduce.  You need to feel safe in your life.
  • Social needs follow. Love and belonging are powerful motivators as well.  We humans do a lot for love and belonging.
  • Self-esteem needs are next. You want to feel worthy and respected.  Having status, all the signs that you are worthy and deserving of respect from other people, is a very real motivating force.
  • And then there’s self-actualization – achieving your goals and developing your own self-definition.

It makes sense.

If you’re starving, it’s unlikely that you’ll be using your creativity for more than getting the next scrap of food that will keep you going.

If you’re running from bombs and bad guys intent on killing you, there isn’t much time for developing your self-expression.

If you’re lonely in a world of hard, there probably won’t be a lot of room for joy and laughter and self-esteem.

Without self-esteem, there isn’t a heck of a lot of self-actualization possible. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to think about what you want to achieve if you’re mired and tangled up in all the unworthiness of you.

THE GLORY OF ME

Maslow’s idea caught on.  The “me-generation” was born.  Self-fulfillment was the key to human happy, the theory said, and we took to it like dolphins in the surf.  Sometimes, though, it got to be like crabs-in-a-bucket when other people had other agendas that did not include the happy of you.

And then, in 1969, in the latter part of his career, Maslow had an epiphany.  He said, “The fully developed (and very fortunate) human being working under the best conditions tend to be motivated by values which transcend his self.  They are not selfish any more in the old sense of that term.”

Strecher marvels that Maslow, at the absolute top of his field, would change his hugely popular model and say, essentially, “I was wrong.”  (Perhaps it was because Maslow apparently cared more about his own vision of understanding what motivates humans than he did about the tangible achievements of his own self-actualization.)

Maslow began to study “transcenders,” visionaries who spent their time working on ideas and visions that were larger than themselves.

He discovered that these individuals made great innovators and reached higher levels of creativity.  They exhibited, he said, “humility, a sense of smallness, awe before the tremendousness of the universe.”

Maslow died before he could explore this idea further.  After his death, a wide-ranging book, THE FARTHEST REACHES OF HUMAN NATURE, that contained Maslow’s scientific and philosophical essays on biology, synergy, creativity, and cognition as well  as his thoughts on self-actualization and the hierarchy of needs theory was published.  The book makes me wish he could have stayed with us longer.

FINAL THOUGHTS

“Vision” is really the what, the picture of the future you want to create.  Visions that are worthy require purpose — the why.

Purpose answers the question, “Why do we exist?”  It’s basically about looking for a way to contribute something of value to the world in some unique way.

The how of it all determines the way you walk when you’re following a vision.  All the steps you take should automatically fall into line if you can develop your vision.

If you’re reading this, then it’s likely that you’ve probably got  your physiological needs, your social needs and your self-esteem needs (more or less) covered and you’re working on the self-actualization part.

Maybe now is a good time to think on bigger things than your own teeny self.  It’s exciting that it’s possible, isn’t it?

Here’s a poem:


FANTASY

It’s just a fantasy

And they tell me it’s not real,

Untested by time or happenstance,

Untouched by human hands and mouths,

Unbattered still by Is,

Unheralded by Was.

And they are right.

 

And yet,

This fantasy that’s come to me

The one that glitters teasingly

Has brightened Is

And tempered Was

And still it flies.

 

I cannot say where it will lead,

This dream of mine I’m building.

I cannot say what time will bring

Or if it will come real.

I see this unreality

Burns bright and inexorably

It flames away the dross

Of what has been.

 

I think I’ll choose to keep my dream.

I think it looks real good on me.

by Netta Kanoho

Header picture credit: North Shore, Molokai by Rosa Say via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

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RESIGNING AS GM

RESIGNING AS GM

One day I stood up bravely and told a bunch of my friends that I was resigning as General Manager of the Universe.  They laughed so hard they were crying.  (Sigh!)  Nobody believed me.  I didn’t believe me.

CONTROL-FREAKING

My way through the world seems to attract a lot of control freaks of one sort or another, as well as people who seem to want  to be told what to do, so it seems that maybe there are lessons there that are mine after all.  Maybe it’s ’cause I do have “issues” about Authority-with-a-capital-A.

It seems to me that the need for control arises out of the fear that what you want is never going to happen unless you, personally, ride herd on the thing and keep it going towards your own personal vision.

It turns your whole road into a battleground, full of other people stepping on your toes, getting in the way and not doing what they’re supposed to.   And you go into battle mode because your fears keep telling you yours ain’t gonna happen.

You waste a whole lot of energy on that one, expending it on trying to get all these people to get out of your way!

The other part of that, of course, is that all the other guys are also trying to get to their desires and trying to do their vision, and you are in their way.  It makes this big, old roiling ball of crisscrossing strings that is an incredible tangle.

ALEXANDER THE GREAT’S SOLUTION

I suppose you could do Alexander’s Gordian Knot move where you whack the thing with a big old sword and bully your way on through.

The problem with that solution is you leave behind broken strings all over the ground and those strings are, every one of them, aka threads — the connections between everything in the Universe with everything else in the Universe.  They lie there writhing like a whole bunch of dying worms.  Not a pretty picture.

alexander-the-great-mosaic
Battle of Issus Mosaic (from Pompeii) [PD-old-100]
Alexander, called The Great, left a mountain of skulls wherever he went.  He died early, having attained his vision, and failing to come up with some other one to take its place.  He brought great changes to his world and people learned new ways of walking as a result, and the world kept on going, growing, developing.

CATALYTIC CONVERSIONS

Alexander was also a catalyst that shook things up good, and maybe that was the gift he carried into the World.  The aka threads that Alexander cut reconnected, grew together in other ways and kept on keeping on.  Alexander, of course, was still dead but he got written up in all kinds of history books and like that and his life story gets inflicted on every wannabe billionaire who lives today.

I’m still working on it.  So’s the rest of the world…..

Here’s a YouTube video featuring the thoughts of philosopher Alan Watts, “Let Go Of Controlling Everything.”  It was published by HDvids101.

And here’s a poem:


TITA RISING

 

He says he’s ready to quit:

He’s tired of the b.s. heaped on his head,

Tired of your issues and your wah-wah-wahs,

Tired of chaos and confusion.

 

He wants off this job that drags on and on,

An interminable rondel that goes ’round and ’round,

Apparently without end.

 

He’s tried, he says, tried and tried,

But it feels like he’s herding lemmings,

Trying to keep the little guys

From throwing themselves off some high plateau

Onto the rocks edging the shining sea below.

 

Every time he gets one cluster of lemmings headed right,

The other guys make a break for it…

Aiming for that seductive edge of nihilistic angst.

 

Oh, yeah.

It’s come to a head all right…

(Or some more earthy organ that’s

unmentionable in polite company.)

So, he comes to me…

‘Cause I’m Da Boss, right?

I am in charge – Big Mama to the forefront…

Little “g,” in control…uh-huh.

 

The job’s three-quarters done and he’s feeling done-in.

And me…I’m standing here flat-footed,

Looking at this thing that’s becoming

A cut-rate model for some stupid government contract –

Complete with asinine road blocks,

Replete with meaningless detour signs and side-trips into the absurd.

 

I am NOT dancin’ now.

I am standing here scratching my head.

I’ve gotta wonder:

Do I LOOK like a branch of Head-Trip International?

Am I the Bureau of Eat-Shit or something?

WHAT?!?

This is NOT the How!

 

Me, all I want is Done.

And it is on you, my braddah…

I backed you, and it looks like you are playin’ games!

You do not have my back

And that wind blowin’ up it is getting COLD.

 

So I’m just sayin’…and I’m saying this LOUD:

WHASSUP?

Tita is risin’…and it ain’t lookin’ good!

by Netta Kanoho

Header Picture Credit:  Defying the Gordian Knot by GollyGForce – Living My Worst Nightmare via Flickr [CC BY-2.0]

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KEEP WHAT YOU LOVE

KEEP WHAT YOU LOVE

It’s the new “thing” — Letting Go.  Everybody who’s anybody keeps telling you that the only way to move forward is to let go of all that baggage you’re lugging around.   “The Simple Life,” hey, ho!  Minimalism rules.

They tell you, “Gee whiz, guys and girls…you’ve got a wagon train following along behind you with all the accumulated baggage of a lifetime and you’re pulling that thing around with you.  No wonder you’re so tired all the time.”

For the most part, that is probably a truth, you know.  People who have little day-packs can scoot along hiking trails a heck of a lot easier than the guys lugging around those huge mountain backpacks that tower over their heads.

backpacker
Backpacker by dontdothisathome via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

MAKING A START

You figure that you probably do have to let go of at least some of that stuff.  As you’ve probably found already, if you’re a natural-born hoarder who tends to leave claw marks all over stuff you’re forced to release, even letting go of just one little thing might be really tough.

It’s likely that you’ll start remembering the back-story behind every itty-bitty thing or else you’ll recall the dreams you had for this thing or that.  Getting to The Simple Life could very well become an exploration and excavation into your life-story.

You may keep getting sidetracked by all those stories and perhaps you’ll never get to the part where you let go of anything.

GETTING CARRIED AWAY

So, finally, after much browbeating there you are, winnowing your way through your stuff and starting to feel good about making all that progress.  The space around you is starting to clear up and it really does feel good.

It’s a good thing to remember that some of the more enthusiastic of our wanna-be advisors ignore the truth that you do have to be careful when you start tossing stuff.   If you make it past the first little throw away and then start getting into the swing of it all, it’s relatively easy to tip into deep toss-mode.

Then it’s possible that anything or maybe even everything can go out the window.  There you are, at the height of minimalistic euphoria….

“Tossing out the bath water…heave, ho, hup!..OOPS!  There went the baby!”

Easy, there.  Take a breather.  You do not have to clear everything out all at once.

 QUESTIONING YOUR WAY TO CLEAR

Here’s a three-part exercise that might help if you really are not making any headway at all.

Choose a target area that you want to clear. It doesn’t have to be a large area. It could be a small corner of a room.  It could be a kitchen drawer.

Part One is to pick up each object in your designated area and ask yourself these three essential questions:

  • Do I need this? (Be brutally honest here.  Do you really need twelve can openers?  Do you need that tacky-   looking tattered potholder?)
  • Is this useful? (Does it work?  Have you used it at all in the past six months?)
  • Do I still have a strong connection with it? (Do I love it? Is it uplifting eye-candy? Or is it some guilt-holding like that uber-tacky hand-me-down vase from your beloved old Aunt Martha, the one that leaked all over the dining room table the one time you used it.)

Depending on your answers to these essential questions, you can stick the thing into one of three piles – the YES pile (for the stuff you’re keeping), the NO pile (for the stuff you’re tossing) and the MAYBE pile.  If you’re a real pack-rat the MAYBE pile is going to be the biggest one of all.

Part Two of this exercise is to disappear the MAYBE pile.  Ask yourself the questions again for each of the objects in the maybe pile.  Keep asking until there are only two piles – YES or NO.  The goal is to end up with only YES things in your life.

Part Three is to find places to put the YES stuff on display or in some easy-to-reach place.  Understand that YES stuff that are packed in boxes stuck on high shelves are actually MAYBE or NO things in disguise.

Then, pack up the NO stuff and — this is the important parttake the NO stuff far, far away before the sun sets on your head.

If you are a natural-born hoarder, keeping the NO stuff for the Someday Garage Sale is just an invitation to collect more stuff.  Do not do it!

Renting out storage space for the NO stuff is cheating.  It is also very expensive.

Understand that these drastic measures are just a kick-starter.  Once you get the hang of disappearing things, you won’t need to be quite so deliberate about it.

Once you’ve gotten one space cleared, it does get easier to tackle another little bit and then another until the only things left in your life are the YES stuff.

(Maybe you haven’t noticed this, but these same questions work whether you’re looking at a thing, a person, or some situation that is bothering you.)

PUTTING FIRST THINGS FIRST

Victoria Moran, in her book LIT FROM WITHIN: Tending Your Soul For Lifelong Beauty, points out, “A simple life is not seeing how little we can get by with—that’s poverty—but how efficiently we can put first things first. . . . When you’re clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it’s clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar. ”

This is another good reason for understanding the why of the things you keep.

This YouTube video of a TedXIndianapolis Talk by screenwriter and blogger Maura Malloy, “The Masterpiece of a Simple Life,” points to a balanced way to get back to simple without losing what you love.

Here’s a poem:


CHANGE

Change is going to happen…

That’s guaranteed.

With me or without me,

Change is going to happen.

 

And it’s a very funny thing:

I can affect change

One, two, three…

And it’s a very funny thing.

 

When I put my energy there

Towards nurturing the good

Then the good will grow,

When I put my energy there.

 

When I put my energy there

Towards nurturing the beauty,

Then beauty will surround me,

When I put my energy there.

 

If I grow lax, letting things fall apart,

Get all lazy, losing heart,

That’s where the change goes

If I grow lax, letting things fall apart.

 

If I lose my way, if I grow weak,

Forget my path and forget to speak,

That’s where the change goes

If I lose my way, if I grow weak.

 

Change can’t be forced, oh, no, no, no…

You can’t push the river,

It just keeps it flow

Change can’t be forced, oh, no, no, no.

 

Going where it will, where it must,

Change still needs space and trust.

Time is the essence, a vehicle,

Going where it will, where it must.

by Netta Kanoho

Header Picture credit:  Clutter by staci myers via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

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THE COST OF GOALS (An Un-seeing Exercise)

THE COST OF GOALS (An Un-seeing Exercise)

High-performance coach and personal growth trainer Brendon Burchard does not believe in S.M.A.R.T. goals.  You know the ones: Specific… Measurable…. Actionable…. Relevant…. Time-Bound.

Burchard admits that S.M.A.R.T. goals work just fine, but he thinks they’re lame.  He says they keep us playing small.  He may be right.

Instead of S.M.A.R.T. goals, the best-selling author, whose books include THE CHARGE, THE MILLIONAIRE MESSENGER, LIFE’S GOLDEN TICKET and THE MOTIVATION MANIFESTO, says he wants you to formulate and get behind D.U.M.B. goals – Dream-Driven, Uplifting, Method-Friendly and Behavior-Driven.

Here’s his YouTube video, “How NOT to Set Goals,” that delineates his own take on goal-making.  It is a beautifully expressed, well-argued rant that gets you thinking way bigger thoughts.

As an internet guru who also coaches, Burchard is certainly impressive.  In 2015 Huffington Post called Burchard “one of the Top 100 Most Followed Public Figures on Facebook.” He’s the star and executive producer of the #1 self-help show on YouTube and his podcast, The Charged Life, debuted at #1 on iTunes across all categories in multiple countries.

Burchard’s well-attended seminars include High Performance Academy, a “now-legendary personal development program for achievers,” it says here, and Experts Academy, a comprehensive marketing training for authors, speakers, coaches and on-line thought leaders.

LOOKING AT THE SHADOW BEHIND THE SHINY

The thing about goals that nobody (except creaky, ancient wise guys who were probably broke-ass mendicants on the side of the road) points out is that all of our goals are absolute mind-constructs.  They’re completely made-up, predetermined outcomes that we want to happen in the Great Someday.

Since nobody knows what the future is likely to bring, how can we know whether this outcome or that one (which we actually made up out of the limited knowledge we have) is the only good outcome?  The wise guys wonder about this.

They point out that there are many possible outcomes.  Some of them might be really great.  Others, not so much.  The wise guys tell us that being fixed on just one outcome could actually be quite limiting.

Many of us have experienced times when we’ve been exceedingly focused on a single desired outcome in our lives.  We fixated on achieving that one chosen goal or reaching that one predetermined milestone or grasping that one perfect opportunity in our careers and we narrowed our focus down so much that we become blind to and completely missed all of the other excellent goals, milestones, and opportunities that  also happened to be dancing around right in front of us.

sage-silhouette
Sage Silhouette by eflon via Flickr [CC BY-2.0]
We are bombarded every day with messages from the media and from other social networks and groupthink tanks that are constantly trying to tell us and sell us on how we, too, can be rich and famous and hap-hap-happy, just like the latest cool celebrity-type flashing across the sky.

Experts abound to tell us how we, too, can hack our lives and ourselves into a semblance of some version of a rich, famous, physically beautiful, powerful  persona living a life that is nothing like ordinary.  (How can we even think about being happy if we are merely ordinary?  Right?)

So, we make up these goals and then we focus and fixate on achieving them, using the goals to motivate us to keep on making our moves toward that better, brighter future that we imagine is just around the corner.

If we’re really good at working them, then we very often do achieve at least some of these goals.  We like to think that is a good thing.

However, the wise guys point out that fixating on achieving a future fantasy outcome pretty much means that we are not really looking at where we are.  In fact we’re so busy looking at and working toward that one specific sparkly future outcome that it’s unlikely that we will actually be able to just enjoy the moment in which we are currently living.

THE POWER OF DISCONTENT

It’s sort of makes sense, that.  You only set out to “improve” things if you are not happy with the way things are.  What this means is that goals and discontent probably do walk hand-in-hand.

Once the goal is reached, of course, then you have this wonderful new set of problem-solving skills that sends you off to correct and make right yet another discontent.

Just because you’ve achieved your one, pre-set “I’ll-be-really-truly-happy-when” goal doesn’t mean that you can shut off the future-oriented mindset you used to get it done.

Have you ever noticed how the guys who are really good at reaching their goals always seem to come up with new and bigger and better goals to reach for?  They usually don’t stop after they’ve resolved their original discontent.    Instead, they just find more discontents they feel they need to fix.

If you fail somehow to reach your fantasy outcome, you are very likely to feel bad and may be prone to beat yourself up about it or lose all hope of ever improving your situation in the way you would prefer.  It becomes a whole other movie that is also not conducive to promoting happiness and contentment.

THE FOCUS THAT LIMITS POSSIBILITIES

Fixating on narrow, pre-set goals (especially the ones that are pushed at you by the society in which you live) the wise guys say, is very likely to blind you to new opportunities for happiness that open up in completely new-to-you directions.

With your eyes locked onto your one ultimate goal, you are unlikely to notice any other possible path to happiness and success.  Like the racehorse wearing blinders, you can only see the track in front of you and the finish line at the far end.

gallop-14
Gallop14 by TheBobman via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]

ANOTHER ALTERNATIVE

One alternative to this laser-like focus on some already mapped-out trail is to become immersed in deliberate innovation and creativity, to look at the way the world is changing and to look for the paths that wander off into the untracked wilderness.  Then you choose to follow one to see where it might lead.

This YouTube video, called “Change the Game” was published by MindWerx.  It points to a way of looking at how the world is changing and how to choose paths to follow that may lead you to interesting places.

You’ll have to pay attention and learn to play with the life that is all around you.

All kinds of questions will come up:  Where does this trail lead?  What lessons can you learn?  Is this side-road a way forward for you?  Does this thing work?  What about that one?

As the 19th-century English biologist Thomas H. Huxley once said, we must “be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever or to whatever abysses nature leads, or [we] shall learn nothing.

Here’s a poem:


THE GOAL

And this is the goal

When you play in the Real:

To find the still point

That is in you, sitting there

Obscured by World thoughts

And dreams and schemes,

And to stand there looking

Into the Void

Where yin and yang

Do their eternal dance of now.

 

To reach that high plateau

You have to slog through

Muddy bogs of despair and doubt

That leave your legs encrusted with

A thick layer of mud, which

Falls off in big chunks as

The hot sun bakes the mud boots off

While you climb up the steep slopes

Built by worldly ambition and pride.

 

And when you’ve climbed many a day and night,

And more, and more, and more,

Through buffeting winds and sudden storms,

Through chill and misty obfuscations,

Through illusion and through dreams,

You finally reach the top

And look out into that wondrous abyss

Of deepest warm mystery.

 

And wouldn’t you know it?

The next thing you have to do is jump.

By Netta Kanoho

Header picture credit:  The Finish Line Where Everything Just Ends by Amy Sian Green via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

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FOMO: FEAR OF MISSING OUT

FOMO: FEAR OF MISSING OUT

Apparently there is a fairly new form of social angst going ’round, a mind-set gone viral in the past decade or so.  The people- in-the-know call it “FOMO.”  The acronym stands for the “Fear Of Missing Out,” it says here.

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES-PLUS

From where I am standing, FOMO looks like an upgraded, updated version of the old “keeping-up-with-the Joneses” syndrome, a new twist on our very human impulse to measure ourselves against our perceptions of the tangible and material successes of all of the other people in our lives and finding our own lives or our own selves depressingly inadequate.

It was in 1913 that cartoonist Arthur Momand began poking fun at our propensity for checking out what the neighbors are doing and trying to copy or, better yet, to top them.  The strip ran until 1940 in The New York World and various other newspapers of the time.

In one of the earlier strips, the main character Aloysius P. McGinnis ends up sitting in a bar wearing a ridiculous outfit his social-climbing wife forced on him because, as his wife says, “we will show that Jones woman that her husband is not the only Adonis that can wear pink socks and a fuzzy hat!”  Momand called his comic strip “Keeping Up With the Joneses.”

Ten years later, when Mark Twain decried the faddishness of the times with an essay entitled “Corn-pone opinions,” he used the by-then well-known Smith and Jones competition to illustrate his point:  “The Smiths like the new play; the Jones go to see it, and they copy the Smith verdict.”

Jealousy, envy and feeling left out fueled the movement to keep up with the Joneses, and the whole thing got a leg-up when the advertising and marketing industry joined in the chorus, encouraging consumer discontent in order to encourage their potential customers to buy-buy-buy.

The me-too, me-too moves morphed with the dawn of techno-advances that were not even a glimmer in the eye of those old hard-sell guys.  The biggest difference between FOMO and KUWTJ (besides the fact that the Jones one doesn’t make a really great mouth-byte) is the added electronical enhancements of modern tech – mobile phones and smartphones and the social networking services like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare.

We are now bombarded with all the cool stuff all of our friends and acquaintances are doing and getting.   They’ve got the latest and greatest gadget.  They’re winning all kinds of awards and promotions.  They’re partying down (without me).  They’ve met their One.  They’re getting engaged and married.  They’re having beautiful babies.  On and on and on.  And me…MEH!  All I’ve got is slog, slog, slog….ARGH!

THE RISE OF FOMO

The origin of the term “FOMO” has been tracked down.  Ironically, it was another McGinnis – Patrick – then a Harvard Business School student, who wrote, in 2003, a light-hearted article in the school newspaper outlining the various ailments suffered by modern-day students.

McGinnis was apparently the guy who coined the FOMO acronym.  The Fear Of Missing Out, he said, leads to a state of over-commitment in which people pack a single evening with nearly a dozen events, from cocktails to dinners, parties and after-parties, and assorted gatherings and social events.  It eventually culminates, he said, in a drunken email at three in the morning to a jilted friend:  “Sorry I missed your 80’s theme party at Felt – you know that you are totally in my top 15.”

According to McGinnis missing out on a truly awesome event (despite the jam-packed schedule) caused people to become hesitant about committing to anything for certain, always holding out for the “better option.”  This syndrome he dubbed as FOBO:  “The Fear of Better Options.”

This video features an interview on London Real with Patrick McGinnis describing how he came up with FOMO.

(You can get the free full interview by clicking HERE.)

In his student article, McGinnis posits that while full-on FOMO takes a tremendous amount of energy and is terribly wearing after a while; aggressive FOBO alienates your friends.  (Keep telling your friends that their “do” is only a possible good option often enough, and your friends stop asking you to come hang with them.)  Yo-yoing between the two extremes eventually leads to what McGinnis called FODA, “the Fear of Doing Anything.”

Over the next decade or so, McGinnis’ seed-concepts and his acronyms took root, and grew and grew.  They even sprouted new FO-acronyms.

Meanwhile, McGinnis went on to become a venture capitalist, private equity investor and the author of THE 10% ENTREPRENEUR:  Live Your Start-Up Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job, where he shows you how by investing ten percent of your time and energy, you can become an entrepreneur without losing your steady paycheck.

AWWW…QUITCH’ER BITCHIN’

Folks who pooh-pooh this phenomenon argue that FOMO is a “first world problem.”  The people afflicted by it have to have some degree of social mobility, at least some discretionary spending, and the leisure time to actually worry about this kind of social comparison.  If you’re busy worrying about where your next meal is coming from, you’re not going to be too concerned about all this stuff, they say.

This doesn’t make the effects of the syndrome any less real for the people who are suffering behind it.  The “reasonable” voices made no headway against the excesses that keeping up with the Joneses brought on.  They make none against the ones evoked by FOMO and FOBO and FODA (and all the other FO-acronyms) either.

Social psychologist Andrew Przybylski and his colleagues defined FOMO as “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent, FOMO is characterized by the desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing.”  Their 2013 study apparently cemented the legitimacy of the complaint.

Other, subsequent studies pointed out that not only do sufferers of FOMO need to stay connected, they also get to feeling like they want to be doing whatever the ones they’re connected to are doing.  They start thinking that maybe what they are doing in their own lives is unsatisfactory.  Dissatisfaction becomes the order of the day.

Status anxiety runs rampant.  It seems like any time we start comparing our circumstances with the typically rosy picture others present of their own lives on any social media, ours comes off looking worse in comparison.  Every time one of our besties does well we get to feeling like it sucks to be us.  ARGH!

Then comes the part where you feel like a turd and a bad person because you just can’t-can’t-can’t be happy for your own dearest friend one more time.

THE SHADOW-SIDE OF SELF-VALIDATION

According to one mind-game theory, human motivation comes from three things: (a) autonomy (the need for self-direction), (b) competence (the need to feel effective), and (c) relatedness (the need to feel connection with others).  All three of these are powerful, fundamental needs that every one of us requires to feel good about ourselves.  If one of the three is out of whack, we are very likely to feel lessened and our motivational power takes a nose-dive.

Social media postings about our triumphs and the resultant validations can be a major high point for each of us.  They make us rev our engines, help us maintain our momentum, and keep us trucking onward.

The problem is most of us don’t just go from triumph to triumph.  All of us have down-times and off-days and downright horrid stuff dumping on our heads at any given time.

We tend to forget that what is true for us is probably true for all the golden people and social media bright-lights as well.  Then all that glowing good jazz that’s happening to Other People can really be a downer when you’re in the middle of a cycle of suck your own self.

COUNTERING FOMO

Much of the speculation about FOMO and its effects on chronic sufferers seem to conclude that the condition is curable.  Often suggested are things like going cold-turkey and taking a rest from all the social media surfing, developing an attitude of gratitude for life as you know it, and spending some time hanging with and appreciating your own self and your own life and your own accomplishments.

In other words, the way to balance an out-of-whack need for connection is to go back to validating your own self – finding and committing to your own path and your own direction, remembering your own competences and achievements.  Hmmmm….

Here’s another take on the issue of FOMO.  This video by the School of Life points to another way of looking at things….

And here’s a poem about a memory from younger days:


YOU SNOOZE, YOU LOSE

I am remembering the cousins.

We are sitting around the patio table.

The tabletop’s covered with old newspapers.

We are cracking open juicy, fat crabs

And digging out the meat,

And slurping it on down.

I am remembering the constant game we played.

“You- snooze-you-lose,” it was called.

 

The cousins never waited.

They always got theirs, and

If you were slow and didn’t know how,

They took some of yours too….

All of it, if they could.

And they laughed and teased the little one

Trying so hard to keep up.

You-snooze-you-lose.

 

And maybe that is why

When things don’t flow and things don’t move forward apace,

There is this pressure in the back of my head,

And why jogs and jigs and zigs and zags

Feel like tragedy waiting to happen,

And why the world seems to be laughing

As I keep on stumbling and bumbling.

You-snooze-you-lose.

 

I am wary still of the snatching hands

That seize my share of joys and prizes

When I am not quick enough, not smart enough,

Not strong enough, not anything enough.

I can still hear the echoes of the teasing

And it makes me want to run faster,

Try harder, jump higher…all that stuff.

You-snooze-you-lose.

 

Maybe it’s time to stop playing that game.

By Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:  Reservoir Climb by Erick Gonzalez via Flickr [CC BY-ND 2.0]

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CHOOSING PLEASURE

CHOOSING PLEASURE

“Choose things in your life that will endure, that are a pleasure to use.  Classic clothes never go out of style.  Furniture should get better with age.  Choose things because they delight you, not because they impress others.  And never let things be more important than your family, friends and your own spirit.”

That’s Marney Morris, quoted by Daniel Pink, in his book A WHOLE NEW MIND:  Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.  It is a worthy bit of advice.

In the 1980’s when Steve Jobs and friends launched the first MacIntosh, it was Marney Morris and her interactive software design company Animatrix, who put together a lively and entertaining “guided tour” of that historic machine.  The guide helped the technologically challenged to bravely enter the intimidating world of computers and get good at it.

Since then Morris has continued to explore interactive design and has helped hundreds of corporations and thousands of end-users connect and engage with each other.  She knows a lot about design and how it affects the way you live your life.  She’s been a speaker at various conferences and teaches a popular course on Interactive Design at Stanford University as well.

I figured it would be worthwhile to take her advice:  to choose to fill my world with things that give me pleasure.  It’s been amazing how well this strategy is working.

PRACTICING CHOOSING PLEASURE

I’ve been working on making sure that the stuff I hang onto in my life are like the ones  Morris praises:  enduring things that are a pleasure to use, a joy to look at.  One really good pan — beat-up and banged-up, but perfectly suited for making that special soup or the best omelet or whatever — beats out a whole bunch of handsome, copper bottomed things that just don’t work right.

I am making a practice of looking over the stuff that surrounds me and letting go of the things that just don’t delight me.  The result of that one practice seems to be a much happier, warmer, softer me.

Every place I look now there’s something that evokes a fond memory or arrests my attention yet again because it is intriguing or is the most effective tool I’ve got for the job I need to be addressing.  All of that seems to smooth down my feathers and makes me feel all fluffy and warm.  There are no jarring notes in my immediate surroundings.  It’s all good, heartful, useful stuff.

CHOOSING DELIGHTFUL PEOPLE

I can live with that, I am thinking.  And if I carry that concept over and use it to look at the people in my world, and I choose to hang with the delightful ones who make me feel loved and safe and warm, well…that’s a very good place to be, isn’t it?

Maybe the quality of a life is kind of like the quality of a good stew.  If you use the very best ingredients, prepare them properly and mix them all up well, then the stew is very, very good.  It’s a lot harder to screw it up.

MORE LIFE-DESIGN THOUGHTS

The YouTube video below is actually a radio interview by host Dr. W. F. Strong at GoodBooksRadio.  In it he interviews co-author Dave Evans who wrote DESIGNING YOUR LIFE:  How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life with Bill Burnett.  It came out in September and is a #1 New York Times bestseller.

The authors have also put together a website, also called Designing Your Life, that Evans says contains additional tools for building the life you want. You might want to check it out as well….

And here’s a poem:


OLD FRIENDS

Old friends call to spend the words

They’ve saved up for me,

Telling me their lives,

Bringing me up-to-date.

 

It is good to hear

Their voices as they

Chime around each other,

Telling me their days.

 

And, I think as I hear them,

How the years have taken us

Away from each other

But not away from ourselves.

 

For they are still who they are,

As I am still who I am,

And we still like each other,

Even though we don’t always agree.

 

Maybe we’re just not

Fast-turnover people….

by Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:  “One More Cup of Coffee” by duygu via Flickr [CC BY-ND 2.0]

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WHAT DOES WEALTH MEAN TO ME: Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom)

WHAT DOES WEALTH MEAN TO ME: Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom)

Another IPS (Inner Peace Symptom):  a tendency to appreciate the abundance in your life and to celebrate in the overflow.  [It makes it a lot easier for other folks to relax around you….]

Alexander Green in his THE SECRET OF SHELTER ISLAND:  Money and What Matters, says, “Money can buy freedom from want and from work that is drudgery.  But beyond that, it begins losing its power….Most certainly it cannot buy contentment.  The stark finding of recent studies is that beyond the safety net, more money adds little or nothing to your subjective well-being.  Yet almost everywhere people imagine it will.

the-secret-of-shelter-island
via Amazon.com

Okay.  So, money isn’t “wealth.”  If not, then what is?  As an exercise in mapping out my mind, I considered this question:  What does “wealth” mean to me? 

Over the course of some months, I’d write down another thought as it occurred to me.  After a while I had a pile of them.  And then I sat and looked at them some more.  Finally I got interested in doing something else.  By then, I had a pretty good list to think on.

I thought it might be a good thing to share some of my answers that came out of this exercise.  Perhaps this will spark your own musings about a most important topic.  In no particular order, here are my own thoughts:

  • Wealth means noticing the abundance all around me.
  • Wealth means being surrounded by people who operate from abundance.
  • Wealth means being surrounded by other people whose walks are congruent with values that match or are compatible with my own.
  • Wealth means being able to live my days well, with kindness and generosity and a lot of love mixed in there.
  • Wealth means having “Musashi” freedom – the ability to walk my own way in Beauty effortlessly.
  • Wealth means standing right with the people in my life, acknowledging and accepting the connections and obligations between us with gratitude and with a commitment to keeping the ball in play so we can go on dancing with each other.
  • Wealth means spending my days helping other people play and playing my own self.
  • Wealth means nourishing others and myself with the abundance that surrounds us.
  • Wealth means having the ability to be of benefit to the other people in my life.
  • Wealth means having the goodwill and trust of the people in my life.
  • Wealth means being able to let go of petty and to let go of chickenshit grabbing for stuff and more stuff.
  • Wealth means being able to expand letting right action flow through me.
  • Wealth means being able to support the people I care about as they do their own heart-dance.
  • Wealth means being able to say “yes” when people sincerely ask for help that they need.
  • Wealth means being able to see the consequences and the ramifications of saying that “yes” so I am able to do just enough to be a true help and not an obstacle or hindrance to their own dancing.
  • Wealth means being able to do everything that needs to be done in a timely way.
  • Wealth means flowing well with the Creative.
  • Wealth means being able to live my life walking lightly in the world.
  • Wealth means being able to change the way I move when the way I am dancing no longer works well.
  • Wealth means being able to act appropriately.
  • Wealth means having the time and the space to breathe and think and feel what I want to do next.
  • Wealth means being able to enjoy what I have already accomplished without compulsively reaching for more.
  • Wealth means being able to follow where my curiosity leads me.
  • Wealth means being able to stop and notice the Beauty around me.
  • Wealth means being able to savor my own accomplishments and those of others who are also dancing their own heart-dances.
  • Wealth means being able to share the stories I can tell with other people who also have their own stories to share.

For me, it seems, wealth is made up of a very few things:

  1. time and room to move around and gawk at the world and giggle with friends who also like to laugh,
  2. excellent relationships with the other people wandering around in this place,  and
  3. a proper way of walking in the world.

All of these things are supported and made possible by having money flowing through my life.  (It’s a heck of a lot easier to do this stuff if you’re not caught up with worrying about getting the rent paid and food on the table.)  But, I am noticing that none of them actually require a full Dragon-cave’s worth of glittery treasures all stacked up.

Over time, before I went off chasing after some butterfly or other, two thoughts percolated up from the simmering cauldron sitting in the quiet glade in the woods that is my center-place:

  1. All the good things in my life come from the abundant Universe and it is my birthright to dance in that abundance.  I am sincerely grateful for the abundance that surrounds me and I can keep on making room in my life for it.
  2. I pay upfront for all the good things in my life by refining my walk in Beauty and by walking my own walk with as much sincerity as I can muster and with the authenticity that comes from my understanding of who and what I am.

You know, I still like this way of thinking….

Here’s another poem:


WEALTH

 

The wealth of this world’s in the stories

That people tell each other, one on one,

That enumerate the sorrows and the glories,

That capture hearts with images fine-spun.

 

The coin that can move mountains is not gold,

No matter what the miser-analysts might say.

It’s how that gold was won, and all the stories we spin

That bring all of our hearts out to play.

 

The fulcrum sought by old philosophies

For moving ’round the world and all its get

Is the stuff the storytellers seize and fold

Into new molds until they’re set.

By Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:  Haleakala Sunrise by Eugen Nalman via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

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IT’S CALLED “MANIFESTING”

IT’S CALLED “MANIFESTING”

A couple of years after my husband Fred’s death, I thought, “Well…okay.  I’m here by my lonesome….it’s getting boring!  Maybe I can try finding someone to hang with.”  A friend of mine was reading one of those New Age books about “manifesting.”  She said I had to list all the qualities of My Perfect Guy.  Then I was supposed to ask the Universe to send me one.  I thought, “Shoots!  I can do that!”

So, I sat down and started my list.  I kept adding to the thing and after about a month I had listed 51 “qualities” that I thought would make my guy perfect.  I stuck the list in a drawer and forgot about it until another friend invited me to a Valentine’s Day hen-party.  She said everybody had to bring a picture or story or poem about love or romance or something like that.  I figured I’d take the Perfect Guy list, distill down the qualities to nine “gotta-haves” and write a want ad, then turn it all into a poem.  I read the result when it was my turn to present something at the party.  It was called,


OKAY…WHERE’D THEY GO?

So, here I am, writing an ad:  I’m looking for another great guy.
See, I’ve been out of the world for some time.  I used to have a great guy,
so I wasn’t really paying attention to the rest of the world.  Well, he’s gone
off adventuring, so I figured I could find another.  (Okay, so I’m greedy.
Nothing wrong with that, is there?)

    WANTED:  One male who adores women.  Passion, laughter,
    kindness, balance, curiousity, and a generous spirit required.
    Preference given to well-used body.  Only warriors need apply.

You don’t know how hard that is to find until you start looking!

First of all, MALE.
Why are so many guys trying so HARD not to be?  (I have enough girlfriends
already, thanks.  I really am not looking for another.)  What is with these guys
who think they need to wilt everywhere?  What happened to strong and brave
and raunchy and raucous and crude and rude and funny and sweet and all
that GOOD stuff?  What happened to balls and cojones and cockiness? 
So I am stereotyping.  Big deal.  Men who are male are beautiful…or, at least,
they used to be.

ADORES WOMEN.
Is there some reason why so many guys don’t like women?  Does that weird guy
who thinks men and women come from different planets have that many disciples
or what?  It’s pretty hard to connect with someone who holds your gender in
contempt or fear.  Okay…so maybe “adore” is too much.  I’ll settle for “like.” 
Naw…I want WORSHIP!  That’s the way it’s supposed to be, dammit!

PASSION, LAUGHTER, KINDNESS…all that stuff.
Did somebody short-circuit all the synapses of these critters?  How come they all act like clones or something?  Where’s the spark and sparkle in their eyes?  Where’s the mischief and the joy?  Where is the soft compassion and the sweetness?  There is something gruesome happening here!  Who’s switching all our guys for these changelings?

WELL-USED BODY.
Does the choice really come down to either the body-obsessed, the freak, the cleric, or the wanna-be magic-man?  How about competence?  What about grace and form and comfort inside the skin?  What about sure and skillful hands and feet and arms and legs and elbows? What about touching and smelling and tasting and hearing and loving and all the other body things?  If you don’t use it, you lose it, you know.  Is THAT what happened to these buggers?

And then there’s the WARRIOR thing.  Now, that’s a can of worms.  I don’t want the Weekend Warrior.  I don’t want the mucho-macho turd.  I don’t need some gangstah, some guy playing little-boy tough.  I want a REAL warrior.
The kind that’s loyal and true.  The kind who knows how to wait, who knows how to move.  The kind who is brave enough to be vulnerable, strong enough to be gentle, and excellent enough to be humble.

So, tell me…what didja do with all of the REAL guys?         

by Netta Kanoho    

My first girlfriend giggled and told me, “You know what’s going to happen now, don’t you?  Your Perfect Guy is going to manifest!  You just asked the Universe for him!”

She was right:  he did.  About a year after we’d been hanging together, I ran across my old Perfect Guy qualities list.  It was amazing!  My guy met every criteria I had set down!  We’re still hanging together all right and tight after 17 years.

We are not married; we do not live together.  We hang out with each other most weekends in the place that he has made into a sanctuary.  I am personally very glad that we do this because, for real, I suck at making sanctuaries.  I tend to invite the whole world in and everybody hangs around acting like it’s Liberty Hall.  ARGH!

Our lives are very different.  I get caught up in the interplay with other people and the petty paces of everyday.  He is an artist, a mystic, and a lot more hermit-y than me.  I am the original Lead-Bottom Lulu.  I consider this island I love to be my personal place of power.  I am not happy when I am not here.  He is a world traveler, gone for months on some jones or other.  He enjoys being a stranger in a strange land.  That one’s my biggest nightmare.

We deal with it.  Our minds and hearts run on parallel tracks.  We are separate, but we can run together and talk and laugh and love.

Nobody can believe that we have never had an argument or a fight in all of our time together.  It’s not because we hide behind masks or anything, damping down the differences between us and pretending that we are one person in two bodies.  We understand strong passions; we understand and accept each other’s peculiarities.  It’s all good.  (It also helps that we are not in each other’s faces 24/7 and that we are so curious about so many things.)

Over the years I told a bunch of friends about this manifesting thing.  Several of them tried it.  Most of them didn’t do it right.  I guess they got impatient trying to figure out what they wanted.  Or they just didn’t know how to look for the signals their prospective Perfect Guy was giving them.  I thought for a while that my experience was probably a fluke.

But, then, a few years after I had done this thing, one friend really went for it.  She said she was tired of having to do it all by herself and she was going to find herself a “ma-eee-an”.  (She did the word as if it had three syllables.)  She was determined.  She was focused.  She was loaded for bear.  She pulled it off just fine and her guy suits her down to the ground.

A couple of months ago another friend told me she was moving to the Big Island.  She had manifested her Perfect Guy and they were getting married.  She told me this after trying the manifesting thing and bolloxing it up three times.  She said her mistake was that she had not really put the thought she needed to put into the Perfect Guy list.

She manifested guys with all the qualities she had listed, but it seemed that she had forgotten to list everything she wanted.  She thinks she got it right this time.

All I have to say about all this is making poems sure comes in handy sometimes.  Now I’m wondering whether this thing would work for manifesting My Perfect Life.  Hmmm…

Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below.

Picture credit:  “Together” by Jeremy via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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