A New Routine

Routine.

As creatures of habit, we sure seem to become accustomed to our routines. What we do when we awake in the morning, what we do when we come home from work at night.  How we spend our time each day, on the weekends, and right down to what brands of things we buy.  When our routine becomes disrupted, everything can get thrown off kilter.  Even if it’s something as simple as “they don’t have my brand of chips on the shelf!”

But that’s the simple stuff, right?

The sudden absence of someone you spend the majority of your time around, regardless of the circumstances, can be super traumatic. From job changes or living relocations, to break-ups, to passing’s, it’s just never easy to experience that hole in the routine.  And that doesn’t only apply to humans.  It runs just as deep with our pets.

For me, it’s about that sense of purpose, family, caring for, sharing with, and togetherness—to have that so completely disrupted…is devastating. When I lost my Sunny Girl I lost a huge piece of my heart. It tossed me into a spiral of suffering.  I lost my ability to ground and center for weeks.  The hardest part; separating out the emotional from the rational, the self-absorption from the true soul self.

How I miss my sweet Sunny Girl! How awkward it is to be without her.  The absence of her is so fresh, I still call her to come in the house, or come have dinners with Angel and Coco.  Her name is still on my lips.  Her face in my mind.  Her sweetness in my heart.

And I’m not alone.  Her sister feels the void too, wanders around the spaces we are in, searching for her ‘other half’.  They were inseparable for over 16 years. There’s nothing I can do to ease Angels grief as she gently barks out calls to her sister to come sit with her awhile.

Once we crawl out from our self-centered, suffering perspective, there is an upside.

There is no death, there is only liberation. Sunny Girl is now free of pain and has ascended to the most divine eternity of all that is perfect and good.

I know her pure heart and goodness is hovering, lingering, overseeing–she is still here with us, I can feel her. A soft brush across the back of my ankles, a sudden feeling of closeness next to my neck as I rest in bed.  If it’s true that the soul stays in the Earths vibration for 17 days after parting with the body, she stayed with me.  I was driven to honor my girl the best way I knew how.  I gave Sunny Girl the last loving thing I could do for her.  With the help of Snatam Kaur’s beautiful recording, I committed to chanting Akal for her for 17 days.

My heartfelt gesture–a protection prayer as she transitioned away from this life. I take comfort knowing she’s now a beautiful white light of true goodness—a deathless eternal essence. Until we meet again.

“From Thee I come and to Thee I go.”

But it hasn’t been enough.

To ease my own selfish suffering, and begin healing, I changed my Yoga asana as well. My morning practice now starts and ends with a very specific intention, and mantra.  This mantra has helped me, and can be beneficial for any type of loss.

‘With gratitude to my higher power, the divine Spirit within and beyond, and with humility, I ask for strength and support as I walk this path toward healing. May I find within myself more empathy, compassion and love because of this experience of loss and grief. I honor this time of transition as enlightening. As sacred. Guide me to trust the process of healing.’

‘I bow my head with deep gratitude for my life, may I never take it for granted. I know it is truly blessed, and despite my shortcomings, know it will continue to be. As I surrender my heart and open up to love again despite this loss, may I remain open to the truths revealed to me, and find peace, serenity and wholeness beyond my grief.’

Routine is hard to let go of. The comfortable order of things is hard to let go of. The familiarity and comfort of that same precious face looking up with adoration and trust is hard to let go of. Angel, Coco and I continue to test and try our new routine. A delicate, sensitive, routine that requires cooperation from all of us. As the new year unfolds and we travel and experience places outside of home, we know there is a huge void that will never be completely replaced. Still, we try to move forward with a new routine.

Love you to the moon and back, my sweet, Sunny Girl. You will always be my brightest sunshine. Happy New Year, baby girl!

 

Thank you for reading my post. What are you most passionate about? What makes your soul sing? I’d love to hear about it!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  For me, it’s any time I can be immersed in nature.  My connection is strong to the outdoors, mother earth, and animals.  You can get up close and personal through my observations and experiences in my “Words From The Wild” blog category.  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website. You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  As always, please feel free to share my information with others who may find meaning and value in the outdoors from this outdoorswoman’s perspective, and PR Brady AdVentures. Thanks again!

 

 

Dumping Difficult

I remember as a small child back in the day, experiencing a culture that is no longer the norm. My mom and dad were not rich people.  He was a baker, and she was a housewife.  They both worked very hard.

Mom would clean the house throughout the week, one room per day. She made all the meals and washed the dishes in the sink.  She entertained me, played games and flash cards with me that taught me my ABC’s and to read and count. She washed our clothes with a ringer washer and hung them on the clothesline to dry.  She mopped the floors, polished the furniture, the silverware, and our shoes. She cleaned the windows inside and out with vinegar and newspaper.  She walked to the market to do our shopping and canned vegetables in the fall.  She spent time embroidering dish cloths, table cloths and pillow cases, and mending our clothes.  And I was mom’s little helper.

Dad took care of the yard, the garden, the house, the car, and us. He would get up in the wee hours of the morning to go bake breads and cookies and cakes, and come home in the early afternoon and go to sleep.  I would have to be very quiet in the afternoons so he could sleep.  Then he would wake up and we would have dinner together.  We had maybe another hour or two after that to play or watch him take care of household needs.  I was always his little helper, too.  Then he would go off to bed.

Perhaps none of this sounds particularly strange compared to today. But what stood out about our life back then was how we approached our daily life.

Mom and Dad didn’t ever throw anything out. They repurposed. They re-used. They didn’t purchase anything without long hard consideration to the absolute need of that thing.  An electric mixer?  How extravagant.  Hand mixing works just fine.  Mom used the flour sacks from Dads work to make our dish cloths.  Glass food jars became containers for washers, nails and screws.  Dad made his own cement to touch up our steps and sidewalk by hand.  He drove our old blue car long before I came along, and until I was almost 18. Their clothes were done in that Maytag ringer washer until I was 30-something.

The key is, nothing was thrown out for being old, or used, or not as nice as something else, or even broken, unless it was the absolute last resort. Everything mattered.  Much of those decisions were founded on necessity due to limited finances.  And we always had limited finances.

Sometimes my parents fought loud and long—usually about whether something was needed or not. But they always worked it out and stuck it out, through thick and thin, because they said for better or worse.

Mom and the neighbor ladies would all get together during the day and drink coffee, and swap things that could be useful to each other. Dad and the neighborhood men often gathered after the dinner hour in someone’s garage and would talk through their fix-it lists and offer each other help and parts.  Us kids all played together, running through the yards and the ally, playing cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians, and no one was ever offended or terrified about words, or playing bang-bang shoot um up with toy guns. There were no fences carving out property lines. The dogs all roamed free and visited each-others homes for treats.  Everyone helped everyone.  We were a city block community.  A day of long hard work was normal and to be expected.  The reward was the kinship of the neighborhood and the love of family.

Those were the days.

Today it’s a little different. There are more borders, and boundaries.  Less kinship or kindness.  We seem to be so much more disposable.  There doesn’t seem to be a value in “stuff management”.  We want new.  We want perfect.  We want convenience. There doesn’t seem to be a value in “people management”.  Jobs are temporary. Relationships are temporary.  We can dismiss family and friends with the wave of a hand over an opinion.  Even our pets are so. tragically. disposable.

You have an issue? Get rid of the problem.  Walk away.  Disposable.

We buy, we break, we buy. We want, we get, we don’t want, we dump.  Nothing holds meaning. Nothing lasts.  Nothing.  Not material things, not living things, nothing.  And when things get difficult—we dump them.

What do we value?

Dumping difficult is not in my nature.   Yet, I admit I’ve been just as caught up in the needs versus wants craze as many of us are over the years.  I’ve never been one to walk the path of least resistance.  I’ve always been the one to find myself crawling up the jagged rocks.  Reaching, striving, enduring.   Trying to find balance in recognizing the difference between wisely letting go of that which you do not need, and not just turning away when situations become hard. Lately, feeling like I’m trapped in a crazy disposable world, trying not to be a part of it, I’ve turned inward to remind myself about all of the good, all of the reasons to stay, to try, to help, and to persevere.   I’ve turned inward to reflect and remind myself  how little “I” truly matters.

Thank the Gods I’ve been focused, present, aware, and determined.

Thank the Gods that I can see value and find comfort in taking the hard road, bringing it all back a few notches, finding space, peace and calm in the midst of rocky chaos.

Thank the Gods for those who also share that spirit of grace, kinship and humility. Those that choose to ride the storms out together, not apart. Those that have open doors, open minds, open hearts.

At the end of the day, that’s what I value. Society can continue to spin off the charts in “disposable-ness”. But dumping difficult simply has no place in my world.

 

Thank you for reading my post. Did it strike a chord for you or did it seem far and away from your own perspective?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  You can read about all sorts of ideas, opinions and feelings from the heart and soul of an outdoorswoman… there are lots of topics covered in my blog category, “Girl Outdoors”.  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website.  You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  There’s a place to do that right on my website homepage.  As always, please feel free to share my information with others who may find interest and value in PR Brady AdVentures!  Thanks again!

 

Got Pierogi’s?

We arrived seconds before being late. At our church, that basically meant we were late.  With my little legs doing triple time to his adult strides, Dad and I scurried up the long, tall staircase into our Ukrainian Orthodox Church, as the big doors closed behind us, only to be blocked by a wall of bodies, at least 10 or 15 deep.  Dad grabbed my hand and pulled me through several layers of dark suits until we could go no further. There I stood, surrounded by a sea of well dressed legs, butts, and hairy, clasped hands clutching bibles.

That’s the view when you’re a 6 year old late for Ukrainian Catholic church.

I looked up at my father, bewildered by his urgency of being here. With head bowed, his expression turned from my smiling loving Daddy, into a solemn, sad man, with a far away gaze cast deep into the creaky wood floor.

This must be very important! I thought to myself.  At six years old, it’s hard to understand a room full of people all facing the same direction, heads down, all looking so dreadfully serious.  Especially when all words are spoken in a mumbo jumbo language you don’t understand.

Yet those words were so very powerful.

I peered between some legs to get a better look inside the church. A squatty old bald man, clad in white silky draping robes with shiny gold designs, was heading up the center aisle to the front alter carrying a book and a gold incense burner on a chain.  He chanted softly with a hypnotic, monotone, serious voice that occasionally ended with a quick rise or fall in pitch on the last word.  He set the book down on a pedestal and moved about the alter slowly, while dispersing smoke from the incense burner around the alter and out to the rows of kneeling, solemn worshippers.  He reached to the sky, then out to his sides, then with head bowed down he chanted further, making hand motions in the air.

This must be very important! I thought to myself.  At six years old, it’s hard to understand an old guy in a robe swinging a smoking vase on a chain looking so dreadfully serious.  Especially when all words are spoken in a mumbo jumbo language you don’t understand.

And then it began. Soft, sad humming that seemed to be resonating all around us, yet was nowhere visible. The hum was deep, earthy, and eerie sounding.  Slowly it grew louder and louder, until a thundering cry of forlorn melody wept through the walls and stained glass windows surrounding us, reaching for our very souls. Deep base vibrating in my chest.  Controlled, lilty, wispy soprano, and delicate, articulate tenor voices chanting something I couldn’t understand a word of, yet I found myself breathless hearing it.

I was captivated. I was scared.  I was drowning in it.  Is this what the fear of God is?  I was ready to obey my mom and dad for the rest of my days—and for sure eat all of my vegetables.  I will be a good girl!  The best daughter!  I promise!  The heavy smell of incense, the pungent smell of men’s cologne and the eerie desolate chanting melody echoing all around me was profound.  It was thick. It rattled in my ribcage.  It hung in all of the legs and butts and clasped hands around me.  It was engulfing my very being.  Pulling me in.  Pulling me in.  It was….it was…..it.  Was.  I.  Am…so.  Very.   Tired.  And…….

 

I opened my eyes to find my father’s face inches from mine. There he was, cradling his little girl in his arms on the front steps outside of the church. “Oh my honey baby!”  He purred as he rocked me in his arms.  I’d fainted.  He felt so bad.  This was church for me at six years old.

Trips to church were few and far between after that day. I went through 3 painful months of unsuccessful bible study in Ukrainian before I was finally placed in an English speaking class. We celebrated my First Communion, and I earned right-of-passage to be a Catholic.  Then things got complicated.  Boy, do I have stories!  Over the years, I eventually ran from the church and became one of the many non-practicing Catholics out there in the world searching for my truth.  In college I dove head first into Philosophy of Religion for an entire year, and studied every option that existed—embraced each, and landed on none.  Eventually I found my truth.  My religion became nameless and private.  It was basically the “Do The Right Thing with Grace and Compassion” faith. That was okay with me.  I had a strong foundation of faith, morals and ethics to work with, which has continued to serve me well for many years.

Recently I went to an ethnic food festival hosted by an Orthodox Catholic church in town. What good Ukrainian girl wouldn’t attend? You can take the girl out of the church, but you can’t take the girl……..

Anyway, I even purchased my own “Got Perohi?” tee-shirt. (I could insert a Polish joke about spelling here, but I won’t).  It was 80 degrees outside as I wandered around looking at all the exhibitors.  Ethnic folk dancers, a Polka band, lots of tasty foods, exhibitors with trinkets to sell, and a bake sale.  The activities program said the church choir was performing shortly.

 

In the church.

 

Of course.

Throwing caution to the wind,

I did it.

I went.

My first time stepping into that kind of space in ‘a lifetime’.

Not to say I’m not a person of faith today. I am.  My faith is strong, albeit not one that follows organized religion.  I snuck into a pew towards the back of the church, eyes closed, listening.  I was transported to another time and place, back when I was six years old.  Yes, that same feeling of sadness, pain and woe filled the room.  But this time, the deep, earthy, and sad chanting brought me through that somberness to something new; to profound feelings of gratitude.  Of thankfulness.  Of humility, and grace. The rumbling bass, the lilting soprano, the articulate tenor chanting’s. It grew louder and louder, until a thundering cry of forlorn melody rattled  the walls and stained glass windows surrounding us, reaching for our very souls in triumph, in celebration, in resolve and devotion.  Although I still couldn’t understand a word, I found myself just as breathless hearing it.

Is this what feeling the grace of God is?

Perhaps so.  A powerful message we can only translate in our own mind, invoked by the hypnotic, lulling melodies of an Orthodox choir.  Tears came to my eyes.  Tears of comfort.  Tears of compassion.  Tears of profound understanding.  Of acceptance.   Of simple love.  I feel so blessed every day of my life, and yet right here and right now, my gratitude is risen ten-fold.  Re-energized faith in some un-definable positive melodic force far bigger than my own self.

I left that Church feeling ignited, inspired, alive and hopeful. Wanting to reach out to my elders, and cook up a big pan of food to share with the world.

What an unexpected gift that day!

It saddens me that our society seems to lump the entire Christianity faith into a category forced to take a back seat in our ever evolving culture, conforming to a world where celebrating God out loud is “politically incorrect.” What a tragedy. With the melting pot of diversity and personal beliefs our society supports, why in the heck has it become actually “offensive” to celebrate God out loud?  Come on now, people.  Seriously?

It’s quite obvious to me, most people need something to believe in.  A foundation of morals and ethics to be raised with in life.  When I was young, God and the bible was our mirror; our example for growing up making wise choices, and developing grace, compassion, and integrity.  A safety check for policing ourselves.  “Thou shalt not kill….  Thou shalt not commit adultery…..Honor thy mother and father”…..we needed a solid reason—a story to believe in.  It was a good, impactful story.  We lived it daily and it taught me right from wrong at an early age.

For me, I choose to believe that God, (which can mean from the Bible, the Koran, the Goddess, the Universe or anywhere else you find that supreme higher power connection), isn’t confined to any one place or version. I would never tell anyone of any faith (well….excluding extremist terroristic beliefs) that they cannot practice their faith openly—or that they have to agree with me or mine.  I believe in being respectful and supportive of all—because when you get right down to it, there are many Deities, and at the end of the day, they all provide the same basic thing—a good foundation and starting point for being a decent human.

The key for me reaching this belief is that I was provided a foundation first. A path.  A blueprint to follow.  A starting point.  From there, as I matured and developed a rounder sense of the world and my place in it, I better defined the path that made the most sense for me.

“Nothing creates a home for worship in our lives better than the realization of our humble part in all that is.” —  Judith Hanson Lasater

Frankly I don’t care what a person believes in. Just believe in something positive. Have faith in the idea there is something positive to strive for.  Look beyond yourself and your own views.  Live and let live with grace, compassion and kindness to others.  There is plenty of room for all of our beliefs.

The bottom line is, “in God we trust” is what our culture–our society–was first founded on. That foundation did, and still does, provide a starting point for countless individuals looking for something to believe in, have faith in, and a positive path they can aspire to follow.

I will gladly take a knee and say “amen” out of respect for that. I will gladly pledge my allegiance out of respect for that. As my higher power is my witness, I stand firm and insist there’s not a thing wrong with allowing public expression of that.

And if you can snag a few “perohi’s” in the process, all the better.

Thank you for reading my post. Did it strike a chord for you or did it seem far and away from your own perspective?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  You can read about all sorts of ideas, opinions and feelings from the heart and soul of an outdoorswoman… there are lots of topics covered in my blog category, “Girl Outdoors”.  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website.  You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  As always, please feel free to share my information with others who may find interest and value in PR Brady AdVentures!  Thanks again!

 

 

Less Tolerance

What? That can’t be right?  How rigid!  OH, now I see, part of the title is missing.  It should have said:

“Less Tolerance for Intolerance!

One day while I was waiting for my Doctor appointment, two women were having a conversation across the seating area from me. Hard as I tried not to, I couldn’t help but hear every single word between them.

……”and he lets his dog out before he goes to work, and it barks and barks at the squirrels until he lets it back in, at least a good 5 minutes every morning, and then the girls bird starts squawking! ”

“ Oh I can’t stand birds. No one should be allowed to have birds.  They don’t belong in cages.  And they’re so dirty and noisy!”

“Yes, well there’s no sleeping in, that’s for sure….”

“ And dogs. Oh! You know, there should be a law against having dogs in the city.  I don’t even like dogs.  They lift their legs on everything and dig and chew and smell!  Oh, he wouldn’t like living next to me, I’d be reporting him every day!”

“Well you know, I think it’s a rental there, next door.”

The other woman turned to a man seated in the corner.

“So, do you live in the area? Do you have rentals next to you?”

“Um, no, actually we’re in the condo’s by the lake.” he responded, clearing his throat.

“Oh, well, that’s got to be nice! I’m sure you paid for THAT location, right?”

The man shifted uncomfortably in his chair.

“I bet I know who you voted for, too. You know, we just pay property taxes through the nose, and others just clean up the benefits…and…..”

“Mr. Jones?” a nurse appeared just in time—the man scrambled out of his seat and scurried away behind the office door.

“Well. He sure wasn’t going to admit he voted for a loser!”

“And they let friends stay over and they park their cars in front of our house…I mean right in front of our house!” The other woman continued.

“What? Well I’d be stopping that right away! Why can’t they park in front of their own house? That’s your space!  Good grief, disrupting the neighborhood!  And they are probably having parties and making noise until all hours, too?”

“Oh yes, they do get loud sometimes on the weekends…”

“I don’t know how you stand it. I wouldn’t stand for any of it.  I like my quiet and space.  You need to say something!”  You need to put a stop to all of it.

“You know what? I just might.  And I’m not even sure if that girl works.

“Oh great.  So he’s shacking up with riff-raff?  Probably on welfare. There goes our tax dollars!”

And it just kept going on, and on, and on. I was trapped.  The waiting area was too small to get out of hearing range.

Don’t make eye contact. Look as sick as you can.  Pretend to be sleeping.  Just don’t, don’t, don’t look up!

They were relentless in their damning attack of the neighbor, some clerk at a store, a couple politicians, and some guy talking about gun rights on the news.

Then…apparently….they ran out of topics to rant about, because suddenly they both turned and looked at me.

“So, what are you being seen for?”

 

Yikes.

 

I have three dogs.

I have two chickens.

I have a rabbit.

And guns.

And I shop at the store they were complaining about.

And we do not share the same political views.

I was pretty sure they didn’t need to know anything about what I was being seen for.

“Oh! I just realized I left something in my car!  I’m going to run get it real quick if the nurse comes.” And I made my escape.

There was a time when I’d relish jumping into the conversation and try to debunk their nasty outlook and assertions. Kill um’ with kindness, and blow down their house of dark cards.  But it was 7:30 in the morning, and I hadn’t had my coffee yet, and their “bitch session” was so intense, I simply did not want to engage with them on any level.

More specifically, I had no interest in putting a foot into their “ring” because I’ve entered the world of “Less Tolerance for Intolerance”.

This area of LESS was one of the easiest for me to settle into. It was easy to implement yet very complex to think about if you really want to wrap your head around the axel and ponder it—which I absolutely don’t care to do.

For me, intolerance is simply another word for Extremism, or Puritanism, or any “ism” that would define an individual as being so firm in their own perspective that they refuse to consider or respect another point of view.

Who are they? Surely you’ve seen some. They walk among us.  They are scattered everywhere—stores, schools, offices, places of worship, public gathering places, on television, the radio, the internet.  They could live next door, or down the block, be in the cube next to yours, or in their cars, on the bus, in line at the coffee shop.  You may not notice them at first, as they could be quiet until they’ve identified something to take issue with.  They demand, they judge, they victimize, villainize.  If you don’t agree with them you are basically damned.  If you don’t take action with them against whatever their issue is, you, too, become part of the problem, open for verbal attack, and yes, you become the enemy.  If you don’t make the same choices, see things as they do, you are clearly not worthy of their acceptance.  Hyper sensitive, name calling, finger pointing, ridiculing, badgering, and bullying.  Some, with a sharp tongue and intimidating tone, others, with a cocked eyebrow, looking down their nose in disgusted disapproval.  I’ve seen it all.  Have you?

In a nutshell, I have no tolerance for that.

Especially in the last couple years, it seems our culture has become so narrowly focused and driven to extreme perspectives. Families have been torn apart over polarized views.  Relationships, friendships, careers have been destroyed over differing views.  That overbearing insistence that what they believe is the “right” thing, and everyone else should forgo all else and join them in their belief.  “My way or the highway”.  If you don’t…well…..things definitely go downhill from there.

Heck, I’ve been called out for what I eat, who I know, what I believe, or what I don’t.

In a nutshell, I have no tolerance for that.

They say ignorance is bliss, but frankly, extreme behavior is totally ignorant, and anything but blissful. What makes a person believe they can be imposing their perspectives on others?  “If you’re not with us, you’re most certainly against us.”

In a nutshell, I have no tolerance for that.

Now let’s be clear, I’m not saying they can’t have their point of view.  They most certainly can.  We all have the right to think what we think.  Believe what we believe.   In the case I just described, hearing those two ladies was quite interesting.  I found myself full of questions.  At times I was sad, offended, and even concerned for them.

 Would they complain about soft rain falling on the garden because their steps got wet? All the nasty things they said about that politician–what if he was their son? What if I was their neighbor?  What if she needed help from that neighbor? Where do they get all this negative energy?  Do they have people in their lives that are there for them?  What in the world do they find joy in?

Yes, they are absolutely entitled to their opinions. Everyone is.  But for goodness sakes, don’t expect me to agree with you.  They were about the most intolerant women I’d witnessed in a while.

I have no tolerance for intolerance.

I’m blessed with a life that includes all sorts of amazing souls. A true rainbow spectrum of personalities, choices, beliefs, and directions.  Despite our differences, there is understanding, acceptance and appreciation among us for the good we all have.  I’m honored know people who are able to have their own view, follow their own path, make their own choices, yet live and let live with those who do not share their beliefs.  They show grace.  They show compassion.  They are thoughtful.  They see beyond their own selves. They look for common ground.  They carefully pick and choose their battles and even then, rarely go to the mat, choosing instead, a far kinder, more eloquent means of expressing their disagreement.   They can agree to disagree and still work, live and play together.

In the grand scheme of things, nothing is perfect. Nothing is permanent.  In the end, our time here on earth is about a blink of an eye long.  We can spend that time being agitated by things, trying to impose our own way, and basically suffering over everything that’s “wrong” with everyone and everything. Or what if, perhaps, we consider opening our minds and hearts to expand our perspective, be understanding of others, allow for and appreciate our differences, find things to be grateful for, experience the contentment that comes from living life with compassion and positivity?

“Ultimately we have just one moral duty; to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it to others.   And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world.”   Etty Hillesum

I choose to spend LESS time exposed to the fist shaking, finger pointing, judging, damning, and intolerant view. I choose to calmly turn away from the fanatic, the aggressive demander, the insister and the disparager.  I choose to not engage in that which doesn’t allow for a peaceful ‘live and let live’ environment.  I barely watch TV any more, as it’s so loaded with twisted, one-dimensional view points.  There is not one single solitary “thing” in our world worth getting all up in a bundle about.  Not one.  The proverbial saying “This, too, shall pass” pretty much nails it. History repeats itself.  Where we are, we have already been, and will be again someday.

If your view is the only one you can see, if you are unable to agree to disagree, and see the greater good, that’s okay. Pardon me when I don’t participate in your rant, your cause, or your acute opinion. Call me names if you must; say what you will, that’s your choice.  My choice, quite simply, (and to my delight) is to have less tolerance for intolerance.

Thank you for reading my post. Did it strike a chord for you or did it seem far and away from your own perspective?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  You can read about all sorts of ideas, opinions and feelings from the heart and soul of an outdoorswoman… there are lots of topics covered in my blog category, “Girl Outdoors”.  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website.  You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  There’s a place to do that right on my website homepage.  As always, please feel free to share my information with others who may find interest and value in PR Brady AdVentures!  Thanks again!

LESS GUESSING

The fake hug.

The long waits for a return text….or no response at all.

The last minute “Sorry, something’s come up.” calls, far too often.

The empty statements and promises.

The “We should get together, I’ll call you.” that never happens.

Or the “nothing happens unless YOU make it happen.”

Sure, we all become distracted and forgetful. We’re all busy. Overextended, with unending responsibilities. That seems to be the new normal. Things do come up and we all sometimes seem far away right in front of each other. That’s just life.

But somehow, this is different, this interaction is different.

And then you begin to question things.

Your senses don’t lie. You can feel it. That creepy sensation like something is off with the communication, or relationship. You just know there’s something not quite right.  You know it. You just can’t figure out what it is, or why.

And then you begin to analyze.

“Wow, that was a cold shoulder—what changed? Did I do something wrong?  What did I do wrong?  Let me think….
Why aren’t they responding, they just don’t agree with my idea? Did I forget something?
Why are they cancelling now? Our plans! Was I just a last resort? Something better came up?
Why are they offering this if they don’t really mean it?
Why are they saying this if they don’t really mean it?
Have I done something? Said something?  What could it be?”

 

Surely it’s got something to do with something you said or did. Doesn’t it?

And then you begin to feel bad.

Been there?

Yeah, we all have, but hopefully not too often. We all read into things at some point with someone.  It’s basically a conditioning of our brains; the need to know, the need to solve, the need to be right, the need to provide the answers.

The need to stay out of the unknown and maintain control.

It seems to me, when we don’t have a strong, sense of self, and healthy, regular exchange of communication with someone who we care about or whose opinion we highly value, we might internally translate that into somehow being judged unworthy, or unimportant to that person. Our own expectations about what we envision a good relationship ‘should’ possess, causes us to knee jerk react.  When we feel like we’ve been slighted, or ignored, we may feel indignant and offended; our ‘self-talk’ recoiling with a firm “fine, be that way then!”, and we storm out of the sandbox.   Or, maybe we melt into a self-shaming panic, inventing any number of unfounded potential reasons of why we did something to ‘cause’ this ‘situation’ in the sandbox.

Basically, we seem to have a need to make up a script, or story in our minds to explain it all. Then maybe we can rationalize the situation away and protect ourselves from feelings of hurt, anger, or disappointment. Perhaps in doing so, redirecting those feelings onto the other person instead, all in an effort to justify why we deserve to be hurt or angry, or to avoid them.

What an enormous amount of energy and stress all that story writing entails! Especially if there ISN’T actually a situation in the sandbox!

Yeah I’ve been known to allow myself to invent stories a time or two. Thankfully I’ve been pretty darn lucky to know many awesome human beings who are able to maintain a healthy shared relationship. So those instances where I might start creating a story in my mind about why so-and so did (or didn’t) do something–shaking my confidence in them or us– have been few and far between.  Why?  Because I finally decided to participate in LESS GUESSING as to why others behave the way they do.

That said, Less Guessing didn’t happen overnight. As I continued my journey to embrace LESS a couple years ago, I decided I wouldn’t allow space for even the occasional guessing situation to occur. I simply got tired of being let down.  I drew a hard line in the sandbox to protect my heart and my giving nature.

Well, that STILL amounted to a heck of a lot of work to manage. I seemed to be evaluating people’s intentions MORE, not LESS!

Then, one day, while talking with a good friend, we happened to share a couple particularly frustrating “stories” with each other. While it was good to discover we both had similar experiences, it’s wasn’t so good to discover the amount of energy we had spent trying to make sense of what we perceived as truly hurtful treatment by “friends”.

We examined our predicaments for hours.

“Well you could just come right out and ask what the heck is going on. Maybe you get the truth. Maybe not.”

The bottom line was, if it was a healthy relationship, THIS stuff shouldn’t even be a part of it, RIGHT? At least, one would think. Yup, we were still trying to somehow rationalize and control.

Why did we feel we need to have, and know, a reason why, and if we don’t get one, need to invent one?

We concluded it was about ego. No one wants to feel like somehow they are being judged unworthy, or unimportant, especially by someone who they value.

Then came the realization. Story writing and attempts to rationalize is a complete, utter waste of time.  To truly embrace LESS, one must let go of ego, and simplify to the core. Push the darn ego aside and realize that not everything is about us. In fact, most things never are.  “All you need is LESS!”  The truth is, not everyone communicates the same way, looks at things the same way, or behaves the same way as we do.  That’s okay! There may be absolutely no ill intent intended, it may just be the way a person is.  Or the opposite could be true.  Either way, the healthiest thing we can do is stop trying to guess what’s in someone else’s head.  We needed to spend much LESS time figuring out what causes people to do crappy things for whatever reason they do them.

  • It’s not our job.
  • It’s not our business.
  • It’s not our place.
  • And most importantly, take to heart it’s not about us, ever.
  • It’s all about them.

We came to the sandbox with open heart, and honest intentions. For whatever reason, apparently they didn’t. Oh well.  That is all we are graced with knowing, unless the other person chooses to be up front and share more.

Our time and energy is much better spent on positive, creative, exciting dreams, ideas, plans and people who share those ideals. We have no right to know what others think. They have no obligation to tell us. Once I let go of that expectation, I felt like a huge storm cloud had been lifted.  I finally achieved the joy of Less Guessing!

“Belief is a preconception about the way reality should be;

Faith is the willingness to experience reality as it is, including the acceptance of the unknown.”

–Judith Hanson Lasater—

The key to Less Guessing? Stop believing people should act a certain way.  Start having faith. Be present in the moment.  Nurture and follow your own path regardless of your surroundings.  Notice how you feel in your relationships, honor those feelings, and make gentle adjustments as needed without judgment or opinion. The rest will unfold the way it’s going to unfold. Live and let live. Focus on the good that is right in front of you.  That, my friends, requires no guessing.

 

Thank you for reading my post. Did it strike a chord for you or did it seem far and away from your own perspective?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  You can read about all sorts of ideas, opinions and feelings from the heart and soul of an outdoorswoman… there are lots of topics covered in my blog category, “Girl Outdoors”.  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website.  You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  There’s a place to do that right on my website homepage.  As always, please feel free to share my information with others who may find interest and value in PR Brady AdVentures!  Thanks again!

 

Less Self Criticizing

Rainy days. They can be a time of peace, renewal, and rest. Or, ugh, they can really drag a person down.  Today as the rains picked up, I started feeling a little dragged.  A little un-energized, and slow to start the days to-do list.  There isn’t anything urgently awaiting my immediate attention.  No “or else” deadlines.  Nothing like what I talked about in the Less Series.  Simply a list of things that I’d like to put to rest, and today seemed like the day to do it.

Until right now.

Ugh, this rain! It triggered an old sensation for me.  It lured me back to recalling those dark days when I was over my head with everything.  I found myself about to start “should-ing” myself, for the first time in a very, very long time.   I should be getting things done, despite this rain. .  I should do….  I should get….  I should go… I should be…just look how you’re wasting this day…….you should be….

ERRRrrrrrrrrrrkkkkkkkkkkk! Like a needle skipping across a record to a screeching halt, I reeled myself back to the present moment.  I was forgetting to breathe.  “I should stop should-ing myself”. I sat quietly listening to the soft rain, waiting for my breath to come back.  Beautiful, softly falling rain.  Love the sound of the rain.  It’s a perfect day.  It’s all good.  It’s. All. Good.  Breathing.  Calm again.

It sure is easy to overlook the positive when drowning in too much “more”. It sure is easy to be hard on ourselves.  What we do do is never enough it seems. How easy it is to forget all we’ve accomplished.  Why aren’t we honoring those accomplishments?  What makes it so much easier to scold ourselves for what aren’t getting done?

I give myself permission to stop everything, and enjoy this lovely rain. Yes. It’s okay.  The rest can wait.  Here and now, is beautiful.  Relax.  Enjoy.

Isn’t that what it’s all about? Allowing ourselves to simply…..be?  If we can’t do that for ourselves, well, who is going to step up and do it for us?

Listening to the calm, rhythmic pelting of the rain, I rewind the last year in my mind.  I’ve achieved so much, despite every challenge I’ve been dealt.  Faced with countless let-downs and obstacles, I’ve found new resources, new support, new people and new things to be thankful and joyful for.  While it’s hard to get out from under the stack of more negative stressful crap blurring the way, the truth is, I have much to celebrate; a multitude of successes scattered across the last year, and an enormous amount of work I’ve accomplished in the last few weeks alone!  The magic permission wand comes out.  I work hard, and do plenty.  I am deserving.  I deserve a break.

All you need is less.

I’d been pushing forward with more than I could handle for years.

I could have fared better with “less”.

But we can’t change the past.

What we can do is learn from it.

We can’t predict the future.

What we can do is plan for it.

So in this rainy moment, I brought to my awareness a gentle reminder that not so long ago I made the decision it was time to face more with less. This week’s mantra is a gentle reminder of that decision, simply meant to keep my thinking on track, even on dreary rainy days.

Less time on self-criticizing.  Why are we so hard on ourselves, anyway?

Back in 2016, in order to heal from beating myself up about everything I didn’t do, couldn’t do, shouldn’t do or wouldn’t do, I created a script to play in my head every time I started going down that path of finding fault with myself. An affirmation list, so to speak.  I started reciting it, out loud, sometimes in front of the mirror, first thing each morning until I’d done it for 60 straight days.  Today I say it once again, and share it with you:

  • I am good, and I am good enough, just as I am.
  • Making time for nothing is healthy to do.
  • I recognize and honor that my health is most important.
  • My intentions are honest.
  • I can choose to be flexible.
  • My priorities are my priorities, and written in pencil.
  • I deserve love, kindness, understanding, forgiveness and support.

Once I allowed these simple phrases to sink into my brain and stick, my self-perception and attitude made an epic change for the better. And reading them again now is like giving myself a much needed hug.  I’m back on track.  It’s ok to do nothing sometimes.  It’s ok to change the plan sometimes.  We can give ourselves permission.  The truth is, what we don’t get done today will surely still be there waiting for us tomorrow.  Unless some magic genie appears and takes care of it all! Oh, look at that, here comes the sun!

Hey, is that a genie I see over there?

 Thank you for reading my post. Did it strike a chord for you or did it seem far and away from your own perspective?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  You can read about all sorts of ideas, opinions and feelings from the heart and soul of an outdoorswoman… there are lots of topics covered in my blog category, “Girl Outdoors”.  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website.  You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  There’s a place to do that right on my website homepage.  As always, please feel free to share my information with others who may find interest and value in PR Brady AdVentures!  Thanks again!

 

Expectations—Learning about Less Part 6

“All You Need Is Less” is my mantra of the year.

I defined micro small steps toward what I need to keep me happy with my world and built that into my Less of a Schedule right off the top as non-negotiable time.

Then I looked at the things I “should” do, and things got interesting.

What “should” we do?

Quite simply, we should do what we think we should.  Not what anyone else thinks we should.  Agree to things because you want to.  Not because you feel obligated, or expected to.  And to break it down further we should do what keeps us focused on being our best selves; what makes us happy and whole.  Hey, that’s the list I just created last time!  To be fair, I don’t correlate cleaning the bathroom as what I need to do for me and me alone to make me happy—although a clean home is a happy home—but I think you get my drift.

The same thing goes for being engaged with family responsibility, work responsibility, other life choice commitments that are ongoing and require top priority and compromise. When I look at my “should” category, it’s about taking care of the day to day business of being a responsible, functioning adult.  We all have different “should” lists.

It’s important to be aware of the difference between what others may expect you to do, and what YOU think you should do. It’s important to recognize when you may be inserting yourself into situations and commitments that aren’t your responsibility, your job, or your path, because you somehow think you should. It’s important to realize the very nature of “should” lies in guilt and shame.  So……stop “should-ing” yourself.

My “Should” no longer includes going light years out of my way to take care of business other than my own. I no longer feel like I have to “do it all, be it all”.  With this adjusted way of looking at everything, my “should” list became much shorter, and much more manageable.  And it was all clearly laid out in a neat, monthly calendar.

Now that I’m healthy and strong, my passion is back and I want more out of life again. But this time I put myself first, and keep those unrealistic expectations out of the picture.

Week days

  • 4:45-5:45              Every day starts with 1 hour of meditation and core training/yoga.
  • 6:00-7:00              Three days a week I’m at the gym 45 minutes in the morning for cardio before I start the work day.
  • The other two days a week are dedicated to plant and animal care before I start the work day.
  • 7:30-5:00              Work, of course (but now managed to 40 hours/week!)
  • 5:00-6:30              Enjoying a good dinner each night is very important to me—especially when shared with others.
  • 7:00-9:00              One night a week is 1 hour of Yoga.  It’s also dedicated animal play night for an hour or two.
  • 6:00-9:30              Two or 3 nights a week are school nights for 3½ hours (Say WHAT? Yup, that’s a whole new temporary commitment going on for me!) On those random nights when there’s no school I go out and do something social, or just relax at home. Once school is over- WOW- I will have all kinds of free time!
  • 6:00-???               Friday nights are reserved for relaxing or going out with friends.  Which-ever I feel like.

Weekends

When I am in town…

  • 7:00-8:00              Both days start with meditation and core training.
  • 8:30-10:30           Then I’m in the gym for cardio, Yoga, and possibly some pool time—a couple hours of time there.
  • Weekends include lots of down time and play time.
  • 11:00-1:00           Saturday is chore and project day—taking care of things on a regular basis cuts down on overall time spent.  I generally spend a couple hours on chores or projects.
  • 11:00-4:00           Sunday is shopping and cooking day—I bulk cook breakfasts and some dinners for the week because my work/school schedule gets tight.  That accounts for about 4 to 5 hours late morning to early afternoon, and is like “Zen” time for me.

When I’m not in town….

Totally flexible–it all depends on where I’m going and what I’m doing–count on it being something outdoors related.

Now when a request pops up, rule number one is check the schedule before I say yes.  How I spend my time is entirely up to me.

There are 24 hours in a day. How do you want to spend yours?  If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, perhaps my Less of a Schedule would work for you too—feel free to give it a try!  After all, unrealistic expectations do all start with us. We can choose to recognize where we may need to make a change.  They say it takes 45 days to retrain your brain for behavior modification.  What would it look like if you initiated Less of a Schedule for 45 days?  How would that impact your life?

It feels good to be in charge of my day-to-day. Although I don’t need to, I still usually write out schedules—I’m kind of a geek that way.  I like seeing the sense of freedom, power and order I’ve captured.  Sometimes I put up a grease board grid.  Sometimes I set a timer for keeping appointments and completing “not so fun” tasks without allowing distractions.  When I stop myself from the temptation of taking on too much, well that’s the best feeling of all. When I achieve my goals, I reward myself.  If I don’t achieve my goals, I decide if I want to reschedule and try again, or not.  When I commit to doing something for someone else, it gets done.  It’s pretty weird to go for days and days without guilt about all sorts of stuff I “should” be doing…..ahhhh but I’m trying to adjust…..

My Plan Of Action To Ensure Less Unrealistic Expectations has been a fabulous change so far—I’m happier, I feel better, and am more productive. I’ve removed layers of emotional clutter from my life and have time to do my best for myself and those who want and appreciate me in their lives.

Embrace the four considerations as Truth. Set a precedent for how much time you’re willing to give away and when.  Don’t forget to prioritize time for YOU—lock that in as a non-negotiable. Then make sure you budget adequate quantified time to get your commitments done.  Putting it down on paper makes it real and recognizable for what it is. Remember, you always have the option to change your mind.

Come on, you deserve less, too!

This concludes my series on Less Unrealistic Expectations.  But OH! There’s much more to cover about Less, so I hope you’ll stay tuned for more Less!

Thank you for reading my post. Did it strike a chord for you or did it seem far and away from your own perspective?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  You can read about all sorts of ideas, opinions and feelings from the heart and soul of an outdoorswoman… there are lots of topics covered in my blog category, “Girl Outdoors”.  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website.  You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  There’s a place to do that right on my website homepage.  As always, please feel free to share my information with others who may find interest and value in PR Brady AdVentures!  Thanks again!

Expectations—Learning about Less Part 5

“All You Need Is Less” is my mantra of the year.

You’ve done the soul searching. You’ve asked yourself, and answered the hard questions without judging.  You’ve cleared the air.  You’re ready to make changes.  It’s time to create Less of a Schedule.

Let’s say I go to the laundry mat Saturday mornings, and do my grocery shopping. I also meditate for 30 minutes and work out at the club for an hour.  Next Saturday I need to be home by noon to have time with family from out of town.  I know these things:

Health and family are most important to me. But so are the chores.  I need clean clothes.  I need food.  I need family time.  I need gym and meditation time.  I want to get all 5 things done.

That said, I also know this:

  • It will take 25 minutes to load the car, get to the laundry mat and unload
  • It will take 30 minutes for the wash cycle
  • It will take 40 minutes for the dry cycle
  • It will take 40 minutes to fold, load, get home and put clothes away
  • It will take 15 minutes to get to the store
  • It will take 30 minutes to shop
  • It will take 30 minutes to get home and put food away
  • And then factor in 15 minutes of “this isn’t going so smoothly” time, just in case. This amounts to basically 5 hours of time.

Do you have this much clarity about your time?

As much as we’d like to resist looking at it this way, all of those things I want to do take a real number of minutes that can be quantified.  Few people want to be tied to the idea of that.  Who wants to live by a stopwatch?  Time can seem to be this intangible, invisible thing that simply happens. “Oh, I’ve got time.” And then you don’t.   “I’ll get it done, I’m not going to commit to some schedule!”   But the truth is, not being consciously aware of how long it takes to get any given thing accomplished on the front end, really does present the opportunity for a failing on the back end.  If you have trouble saying no, doing too much, procrastinating, or not getting things done, perhaps you have no awareness of time.

Combining a lack of awareness about time with an over-extended life, is the perfect set up for chronic failure. The foundation of succeeding with Less of a Schedule is in being acutely aware of time, and consciously choosing what you want to do with it.

Without anticipating any distractions, I will have to start my day at 6:15 to keep my commitment with the family. If I wake up at 7:00, make some coffee, start thinking about the laundry, the groceries and the park and then decide “I’d better get started on this stuff” at 9:00………….. good luck!  I’ve just created the perfect storm, and will fail to achieve one or more of my plans for the day.  On the other hand, if I know exactly what I need to do and how long it will all take, I now have the ability to manage my time—perhaps plan in advance—to make sure I can get everything done that I choose to.

What if my colleague “Fred” approaches me Thursday and asks me to work on a new project with him Saturday?

“Sorry Fred, I’m booked. How bout we find time next week?”

What if the neighbor is walking by and waving to me as I’m heading to the car Saturday morning?

With a big smile I say “HI! Great morning! Have a good one!” and keep going.

What if I pass by the sporting goods store and there’s a “HUGE CLOSEOUT SALE” sign in the window?

Argh! Heavy sigh!  Just say no!  Keep on going!  Stay strong and keep going!  I’ve got plans!

Now of course you could always head out the door at 5:00 and give yourself an hour to play with. WHAT?  On a Saturday??? Not this girl!)….that’s the beauty of creating Less of a Schedule.  It’s entirely up to you how you want to manage your time.

Diligence.  Motivation.  Focus.  Will Power.  Accountability.

Oh my goodness this is just too much micro-time-management!!!

Let’s be clear. Creating Less of a Schedule isn’t a penned in blood, do or die inflexible commitment. It’s a planner.  It’s a tool to stay focused.  It’s a guide to follow.  It can be as big or small, detailed or broad based, full or empty as you want.  It’s a personal choice, used to follow through with taking care what is most important to you. And that brings us back to Less of a Schedule.

11 great reasons to use Less of a Schedule:

  1. To have a visual outline to help you decide what you want to make time for.
  2. To train yourself to be present with time and commitment.
  3. To stay on task when you’ve got a lot on your plate.
  4. To help you pay attention to what you’ve actually agreed to.
  5. To manage your time and not over extend.
  6. To help you set limits for yourself.
  7. For motivation to get more stuff done.
  8. For motivation to get less stuff done.
  9. Because when you put it all down on paper, it becomes real.
  10. To give yourself something to hold yourself accountable to.
  11. To simply remember it all.

When I was struggling with being home and physically broken—unable to do practically anything, I had plenty of time on my hands to reflect on the state of my whole existence. It became easy to see who was there, and who wasn’t.  It became clear what deserved my time and what didn’t.  It became obvious I needed inspiration.  I knew I needed to take steps – even if they were small steps–to stop carrying the whole load and feeling guilt when I couldn’t.

So here’s how I created my Less of a Schedule:

First I sat down and considered what I need for me and me alone to keep me happy with my world. It looked something like this:

Family, friends, being with my animals, yoga, meditation, working out, going out, earning a living, cooking, outdoors, hunting, fishing, gardening, watching paint dry, contemplating the meaning of life, and so on.

Considering all that was just too much to think about initially.  I knew that I was clearly not making enough time for those things and I should build all that into my schedule right off the top as  non-negotiable unless I choose to forgo any piece of that time. But it was too daunting at first.

Beginning with micro small steps, my Less of a Schedule was simply this:

Later, I was able to sort through my happy list and get it figured out.  Then I looked the things I “should” do. That’s where it got interesting.

What should we do?

For starters, you shouldn’t “should” yourself. You should, however, tune in next time for the last steps to creating Less of a Schedule!

 

Thank you for reading my post. Did it strike a chord for you or did it seem far and away from your own perspective?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  You can read about all sorts of ideas, opinions and feelings from the heart and soul of an outdoorswoman… there are lots of topics covered in my blog category, “Girl Outdoors”.  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website.  You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  There’s a place to do that right on my website homepage.  As always, please feel free to share my information with others who may find interest and value in PR Brady AdVentures!  Thanks again!  

Expectations—Learning about Less Part 4

“All You Need Is Less” is my mantra of the year.

Yes, “Less Self-Imposed Expectations” was a hard, hard lesson to learn, but I was able to do it in part by listening to other people’s similar situations, identifying with them, and being able to envision alternate ways to view those situations. I came up with a Plan Of Action to Ensure Less Unrealistic Expectations.

First was coming to the understanding that it all starts with me. I allowed myself to accept that;

  • The world isn’t going to come to an end without my relentless efforts.
  • I’m not responsible for everything.
  • Just because I know I can, doesn’t mean I should.

And finally,

  • I deserve love, respect, understanding, and kindness from others, AND from myself.

Then I thoughtfully analyzed how I spent my time, and saw room for improvement .  I applied this adjusted way of thinking into my Less of a Schedule SCHEDULE!

So as I was writing this series, I have to admit, I did make some assumptions about how people view time and commitment.  I had to take a step back and remind myself that not everyone over extends.  Not everyone plans.  Not everyone thinks on Monday what they may need to be doing a week from the next Tuesday.  Some people have balanced, happy lives that are relatively stress free.  Odds are, they have already mastered “Less” without even realizing it.  If that’s you, you may or may not find benefit in creating Less of a Schedule.  You may think putting things down on paper is silly or a waste of time.  That’s okay.  But then there are those folks who truly do need ‘Less of a Schedule’.

And that’s when I realized there are just a couple more things to go deeper on before we actually get to creating Less of   Schedule.

As a master planner, I’ve lived by a schedule most of my adult life. One reason is because years ago I worked for a company that was all about time management.  Down. To. The. Seconds.  Time was money, and parts needed to be built quickly and efficiently.  So I spent quite a bit of time…managing time.  I guess you could say I was “conditioned” at an early age.  In essence, the manufacturing workplace became an “adult self-regulating environment”.  We were all programmed to know how many minutes, or even seconds, it took to do ‘thing a, thing b, thing c’, and so on.  I received a number of awards for developing time and cost saving processes back then.  Ah, yes, back in the day!

I. Know. How. To. Get . Stuff. Done!

Of course normal daily life can’t be lived with that kind of rigidity. Yikes, right?  But there is something huge to be said for self-regulating, and being consciously aware of the present.  Not everyone is automatically dialed in to be that way, which typically is a big part of the problem with over extending in the first place.  When you are consciously aware that it actually takes countable minutes to do…any…thing….you know what the ground rules are to getting things done, and you know what happens if you “break” them.   There is no “it just sneaked up on me” business.

I remain a master planner. The difference today is that now my schedule is far more relaxed. I allow myself more than enough time for my commitments.   I have blocks of designated downtime, family time and nothing-at-all time, and plenty of it. That’s what I call my non-negotiable time.

“But there’ only 24 hours in a day and I’ve got a running list requiring at least 30” you say. Here’s where rating your time comes in handy.  How important is it to get involved with “X”?  How important is it to say “yes” to “Y”?  What are we talking about in time investment if you agree to “Z”?  Who is affected and how are they affected if I decide to do, or not do, this thing?  What may I have to give up in order to help with this thing? When it comes to anything outside of your non-negotiables, these are good questions to start with before you make any commitment.  Gone are the days when we just say “yes” without careful consideration of what “yes“ will entail.  Gone is the need to conquer the world, do it all and be it all.  Remember, we’ve reached all those profound new realizations that are changing our world, right?  Right! Awesome!  Now on to the next item!

Perhaps the hardest part of creating Less of a Schedule is determining, and admitting, why you may need one. As you consider the things you really want to achieve with your day, do you also acknowledge what typically stops you from following through, whether you’re over committed or not?

Let’s say you committed to a work project that would take the better part of the day to complete, but instead, 15 minutes into it a memo caught your eye and you spent half the day researching and making calls about the memo. It didn’t pertain to you directly.  It wasn’t necessary to give that memo more than a glance, but there you were, sucked into it, and then, suddenly, the day was gone.  No completed project.  You’re scrambling and a frustrated team is waiting on you.

What happened? Be honest now…..

How did putting that commitment off effect those waiting on it to be done?

Who would you never dream of letting down?

What circumstances would it take?

When do you feel inspired to stay the course on getting a specific thing done?

What would it look like if you’d simply glanced at that memo and said “huh” and kept working on the project?

Or let’s say you agreed to be over to the party with the brats at 6:00, but as you were leaving your house you saw the neighbor across the way and a simple greeting turned into talk about the new shop opening. Then another neighbor came by, and then the husbands came out, and before you knew it, it was 7:35.  The beans were cold, the buns were dry, and your friends were eating their paper plates.

What happened?

How would you feel if you were the one waiting on those brats?

Who would you never ever consider being late for?

What circumstances would it take?

When do you feel inspired to be on time?

What would it look like if you’d simply waved “hi” to those neighbors and kept going?

Answering  questions like these may be a little uncomfortable when you lead with knowing it all starts with us and the choices that we make.  What causes us to take on too much is one issue.  What causes us to think it’s acceptable to put those things off once we have made the commitment is double trouble. Being able to honestly look at the answers could be a huge awakening, and eventually bring you closer to your best self.

In my world, the foundation of my decisions has always been based on integrity. I have a framed “saying” in my dining room that’s been there since the beginning of time.

Respect for Self

Respect for Others

Responsibility for All Actions

It’s been a constant reminder and mantra to me my whole life.  Back when I felt like I was falling down with over-extension I could hardly stand myself.   I tried to convince myself that people would understand.  I told myself people wouldn’t notice one way or the other.  I even wallowed to the point where I said if they really cared they’d of said something.

But that’s really not how it works. Unless they tell us, we don’t know what they think.  It’s none of our business WHAT the other guy thinks.  It’s not our place to make assumptions about it, either.  Maybe they lost respect, or maybe they didn’t .  We won’t know unless they decide to tell us, or we flat out ask.  Pffffffh and who does THAT?

The bottom line is, not following through is a choice, consciously, or subconsciously. It’s no one’s fault but our own for being distracted, or procrastinating or forgetful, or whatever happens to be the case (outside of things like innocently driving along and getting t-boned by some A-Hole on the road—or becoming dreadfully sick).  What happens when we make that choice?  Not only do I look bad if I don’t follow through, but my choices could also have negative consequences for those I’ve let down.  My choices affect me, and everyone around me.  We alone are responsible for making wise choices with our time.  With our life.

So what does all this have to do with creating Less of a Schedule?

It’s food for thought. Before diving in to creating Less of a Schedule, give some thought to your typical day.  Is it often a day of self-imposed unrealistic expectations?  With gentle care and without judging, ask yourself these hard questions:

  • Who is impacted by your current mode of operation and behavior?
  • How does not meeting a commitment effect those waiting for it to be done?
  • Who would you never dream of letting down?
  • When do you feel inspired to stay the course on getting a specific thing done?
  • Who would you never ever consider being late for?
  • How would you feel if you were the one waiting on someone?
  • When do you feel inspired to be on time?
  • What would it feel like to not be overwhelmed?
  • How would your life be impacted if you had more time?
  • Who would be impacted if you had more time?
  • How important is it to you to be good for your word?
  • Are you ready to make some changes?

Food for thought. Next time, the much anticipated Less of a Schedule.

 

Thank you for reading my post. Did it strike a chord for you or did it seem far and away from your own perspective?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  You can read about all sorts of ideas, opinions and feelings from the heart and soul of an outdoorswoman… there are lots of topics covered in my blog category, “Girl Outdoors”.  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website.  You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  There’s a place to do that right on my website homepage.  As always, please feel free to share my information with others who may find interest and value in PR Brady AdVentures!  Thanks again!

Expectations—Learning about Less Part 3

“All You Need Is Less” is my mantra of the year.

Yes, “Less Self-Imposed Expectations” was a hard, hard lesson to learn, but I was able to do it in part by listening to other people’s similar situations, identifying with them, and being able to envision alternate ways to view those situations. Then, I came up with a Plan Of Action to Ensure Less Unrealistic Expectations.  My simple plan of action isn’t rocket science, but it sure does work for me.

The thing is, it’s pretty useless to try to just “whip up” a plan of action. There are a few steps involved. There is a need to put some thought into one.  A little self-talk, a little soul searching perhaps.  But if you can get through that part  you’re well on your way to enjoying  much more “Less!”

 

ACTION ITEM 1

First and foremost was coming to the understanding that it all starts with me.

Yada, yada yada, yeah we hear it over and over, but the truth really is….

Yes, I do have the ability to direct my destiny. We all do.  It’s all about choice.  I decide if and when I am going to do… virtually….anything.  I want certain things out of this life.  I aspire to achieve certain things.  Every time I take a back seat to my own needs and desires, I am farther away from realizing them.  I can’t get what I want without my own cooperation.   It’s on me, alone.  I can choose to say yes.  I can choose to say no. I can choose to share, keep, wait, or leave.  I can choose to modify my plans, or hold steady.  Not making a decision is, actually, making a decision.  I can decide something is important enough to engage in, or not.  I can change my mind then change it again. Saying yes isn’t wrong.  Saying no isn’t failing. I can be my worst critic, or my biggest cheerleader.  It all depends on how I choose to view things.  What happens in my day happens because of my decisions.  EVEN if it means disappointing someone, or something becomes a “surprise” situation, like my medical surprise.  I can choose how to respond to it. No one else gets to make that decision for me.  When a person approaches life with this realization in mind it effects every relationship and interaction they have.

The first step was coming back to the simple understanding that it all starts with me. Then, everything else changed.  Recognizing that “inner power” helped give me renewed confidence that I am valuable and my time is valuable, and I actively choose to prioritize my time to be gentle, patient, supportive, and forgiving of myself, first.  For most of us, I suspect we have ourselves down a couple on the priority list, putting others first.  As awkward and selfish as it may sound…that has to stop. We need to take care of ourselves before we’ll be much good for others.

 

ACTION ITEM 2

I identified four important TRUTHS to live by (in addition to ‘The Four Agreements’—by Don Miguel Ruiz –the ultimate truths to live by!).  These truths have been firmly planted in front of me for some time now, as a behavior modification reminder.

ONE      Trust that the world isn’t going to come to an end without my relentless efforts.

TWO      Accept that it’s not my job to take on mine, and everyone else’s “stuff”.  I’m not responsible for everything.

THREE   Allowing myself to pick and choose the things I really want to do, have to let go of, or cannot get done, is the right thing to do for everyone.   Just because I know I can, doesn’t mean I should.

FOUR    Believe that I deserve love, respect, understanding, and kindness from others, AND from myself.

 

ACTION ITEM 3

I had to put this adjusted way of thinking into a user friendly format. For me, that’s the easy part!

What helped me to limp along juggling overwhelming unrealistic expectations for years and years and YEARS was keeping AND USING a schedule. For me that included anything from bi-monthly projects to routine daily needs, cramming things right down to an 18 hour hourly timeline by the ½ hour with no breaks if I had a super busy day.  And more than once I needed a 30 hour day!  Oh how I had myself on point for non-stop running!  Sometimes  I can’t believe I’m still alive!  While the schedule gig was pretty effective in getting things done, it was also totally exhausting, usually unattainable, plus it was missing something huge—time to breathe.  There are several reasons for that,  that somehow, I never recognized all those years.  But now I do.

So, things have changed for me. It’s a new day.  “Less” of a day. Next time I’ll show you how I developed my “Less of a Schedule SCHEDULE”!

 

Thank you for reading my post. Did it strike a chord for you or did it seem far and away from your own perspective?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  All comments are greatly appreciated.  You can read about all sorts of ideas, opinions and feelings from the heart and soul of an outdoorswoman… there are lots of topics covered in my blog category, “Girl Outdoors”.  If you like what you see, please let me know by “liking” my website.  You can even join my tribe to automatically receive new postings ‘hot off the press’.  There’s a place to do that right on my website homepage.  As always, please feel free to share my information with others who may find interest and value in PR Brady AdVentures!  Thanks again!