The Peace Talks

I am not Catholic, but one thing that I’ve always liked about Catholic services is when each person turns to the people around them, shakes their hands, and says, “Peace be with you.”  And that person responds, “And also with you.”  In my efforts to give up fear for Lent, I am seeing more and more that it is important for us all to speak peace with one another.

One any given day it can feel like the world is against us, that nothing is going right, and that we will never reach our dreams.  The cure to this feeling is not just to rally within yourself, but to rally within a community.  Gather together with people of your ilk.  And by “ilk” I mean people that are about what you are about.  People that are of a similar mindset and are striving to achieve something great.

If you are struggling in school join a study group, if you are stressed/angry join a meditation group, if your feeling behind take a class, if you are lost reach out to our friends.  Put it on your schedule and gather in a place where the atmosphere compliments your needs (like the Room of Requirement in Harry Potter); pick a space that promotes joy, peace, and harmony- a safe place where you are free to think and dream.  Tell your people what is amazing about them; challenge their thoughts, support their spirit, lift them up, and ask them to so the same for you. Can you imagine the power of people all over the world meeting with the intention to raise each other higher?!?!?!  I bet it would literally move a mountain!

So run- don’t walk!! Get your people together on the phone, on Skype, in the coffee shop, at the mall, in the conference room,  in the classroom,  in the theater, at the bar, in the streets, and let the peace talks begin!

Freedom is the new Lent

I’m not Catholic, so I do not always participate in Lent, but I have on occasion given up chocolate or the like with the hopes of being a better person.  This year, as I’ve seen friends preparing for Lent, something important occurred to me.

Lent is about transformation.  We are meant to make sacrifices in order to move us towards our best selves. However, I realized that (when I participate) I have been giving up the wrong things.  Giving up chocolate was inconvenient and made me more creative about finding other things to satisfy my sweet tooth, but I never felt enlightened or more aware after the fact. This year I am attempting to give up shackles! I see shackles as the following:

Fear    Doubt   Shame   Guilt   Self Loathing   Judgement    Lack    Worry

I personally will be focusing on Fear as I feel it will free up some of the others for me.  What can you give up that is holding you back?  Or what can you change that would build you up? Remember Lent doesn’t have to be about gritting your teeth through sacrifice.  Allow Lent, or anytime that you feel so inspired, be about the transformation into the person you always dreamed you would be.  So what do you say?  For the next 40 days we move towards freedom and away from shackles!

The Platinum Rule

gold-platinum-parity

Years ago I was discussing with someone personal life philosophies and our modi operandi. I said that I was a golden rule kind of person- do unto others as you would have others do unto you. The person I was speaking with said that he was a platinum rule type of person. Never hearing this term before, I asked him what he meant. He said that the platinum rule is to do unto others as they would do unto themselves.

The Golden Rule vs the Platinum Rule looks like this:

You love chocolate chip cookies; they always make you feel better when you are upset. So when you notice  that your co-worked has been down in the dumps lately, you bake him some chocolate chip cookies. Your co-worker finds this to be a lovely gesture and takes them home to his family. That is the golden rule.

But what if you notice that every time your co-worker buys a sweet treat at lunch, he purchases a sugar cookie. So you bake this co- worker sugar cookies, instead, to cheer him up. He is so over joyed that his eyes get wet and he shares how his grandmother always made him sugar cookies and she has recently passed away. Your attention to detail made him recall a positive memory about her and  lifted his spirits. You made his day! This is the platinum rule!

The golden rule is great, but the platinum rule is just that extra level of consideration and care. The platinum rule requires us to stop looking within and start looking “without.”  If we take the time to observe and listen, we will learn to be attentive partners and parents, better co-workers,  and more involved friends.

Perception is 9/10 of Everything

I wrote this piece for my company’s blog.  It received a great response so I thought I would share it hear as well.  I tweaked it a, but the message is the same. Enjoy!

I once heard someone say that “there is no such thing as reality, only perception.” Meaning that how we perceive the world is the truth for each of us even if it contradicts with how others view the world. For example a villain in a movie doesn’t believe himself to be a villain or to be doing evil, he simply has a different morality code than the hero.  We all bring certain perceptions into our lives and interactions, however our perceptions of the world may not be appropriate for every situation- especially when working  with clients, fellow employees or even loved ones.

Consider the following scenario:
A father and his teenage son are driving home after the son’s basketball game, when their car goes over some black ice. The father loses control and their car hits the guard rail. Their vehicle is now in a ditch on its side. Both the father and son are taken to the hospital in an ambulance. The father dies on the way to the hospital and the son is rushed into the operating room. The surgeon is about ask for the scalpel, but instead says ” I cannot operate on this patient! He is my son!”

How is this possible?

This riddle first appeared on All in the Family (and later on The Cosby Show) and most people were stumped. Where you able to guess the right answer?  Originally, the answer was that the surgeon was the boy’s mother.  The riddle was meant to demonstrate how we categorize men and women into traditional roles based on our perceptions and illustrated a need for more diversity and inclusion.  (Even today when many people think of a doctor they think of a man first.)  However, how creative can you be with this situation?  The boy could have had two fathers or could have had a step-father. .

In this scenario you can see how our preconceptions can be inappropriate. Our history and our given circumstances help to form certain prejudices that we may not be aware of.  Clinging to our preconceived views of the world can interfere with our empathy; it can remove our ability to stand in some else’s shoes and to see events through their eyes. Ultimately, we could come across as uncaring and harsh. The next time  you have a difficult time with someone, ask yourself if you are bringing anything unnecessary to the table.

Appointments and Lollipops

A few years ago, I was working in a retail store of a cell phone provider and I was having a bad day. And I mean B-A-D! What I was feeling was clearly visible; you could see it in my posture and it was certainly all over my face. Seeing my distress, a customer asked if she could give me a hug. As she embraced me, she said something in my ear that I will never forget. She said, “Don’t let anyone steal your joy!”

I was dumbstruck by this statement! I had never heard anything so powerful. She was right; I was letting a temporary situation rob me of an otherwise good day. This stranger not only gave me good advice and an amazing mantra to live by, but she gave a new behavior. I started showing up for my “appointments”.

When I say appointments, I really mean opportunities. This woman caused me to remember times when teachers, friends, and family had shown up for appointments in my life to help me on my journey and/or inspired me to be a better person. I realized that I could do the same and so can you!

If we pay close enough attention, we can see when we have an appointment, an opportunity to be a positive influence and presence in someone’s life. Seize those opportunities in every arena.  At work be specific in your praise of a co-worker, “You taking ownership of this project was a huge help to the team. We’re lucky to have you.”  Thank your friends for stepping out of their comfort zone to be by your side, “You are the best for coming to Zumba with me! I couldn’t have walk in the door by myself!”  Show a little extra kindness like letting someone stand under your umbrella on a rainy day while you both wait for the bus.  You may think to say something difficult like, “You were really out of line today.  That’s not like you- what’s going on?”  Sometimes your appointment may be to not say anything at all and just listen.  These little moments matter immensely and they change lives.   Now shouldn’t you be going? I think you have an appointment!

To better illustrate my point please watch this TED Talks video.

Flip the Script

Very often in our pursuit of happiness we say, “I want ________.”  We may go as far as to say,  “I will do ________ to get _________.”  But have you ever done or attempted all the “right” things, but you still cannot get what you want?

About a month ago, I was lamenting about my weight, AGAIN! I thought, “What’s wrong with me?! I know what I want!  I know how to get it! So WHY can’t I do it?!?!?”  I was asking the wrong questions. A quiet voice inside said, “What do you need to be successful?” The answer surprised me.

The answer wasn’t another diet plan, exercise machine, or more will-power.  I heard myself say that what I needed was peace.  I needed to find peace somewhere in my day – everyday.  Then more answers started to come, like that I only needed to please myself not some society standard of beauty.  I heard the voice say, “What would it mean to complete this goal?” Again, the answer was surprising.  I said that perhaps I would not have to be so brave all the time.  At this weight I always feel that I have to fight or stand up for myself even when it isn’t totally necessary.

I wrote down all of my answers to these 2 questions and reference them when I feel a little lost. And to answer my call to peace, I get up early.  I spend at least 10 minutes before I get out of bed to pray and meditate in order to prepare for the day; so when my feet touch the ground I am  ready for whatever comes my way.

If you are struggling to make progress on a goal/dream.  Perhaps you are asking yourself the wrong questions and therefore getting the wrong answers.  Flip the script and ask a new question! These fresh answers may lead you down the path you’ve been looking for!

Give Yourself Permission

permission

I saw this graphic from THEHIYL.com on Facebook last week and I thought, “YES!”  We need to give ourselves permission to live the lives we want.

In Sherri Sherpard’s book Permission Slips, she talks about that great feeling we would get as children when we would receive a permission slip.  Whether we had a permission slip to go on a field trip, or a doctors note that kept us out of dodge ball week in gym class, or a study hall pass to practice music instead of doing homework, these allowances made us feel special.  So why don’t we give ourselves permission to do the things we need to feel extraordinary?

Somewhere we got the message that self deprecation and self-sacrifice are needed to be successful and to be a good human being. NOT TRUE!!! We have to start building ourselves up.  We can then, share the wealth, and  build up others, but it starts with you.  So today give yourself permission to be great! Here are some of my permission suggestions for myself and for you!

Give yourself permission to:

Love yourself just the way you are today.

Love your body just the way it is.

Feel genuine joy.

Laugh louder than you think you should.

Buy something nice for yourself.

Eat a cookie!

Give someone a compliment. (Start with you!)

Sing loudly and badly if need be.

Dance like no one is watching.

Call an old friend.

Do something daring.

Be bold.

Try something new.

Try something hard.

Speak your mind.

Play hookey from something.

Say NO!

Pray.

Fail.

Be briliant

Dream.

Believe.

Sure there may be things on this list or your list that you want to do better, but today, as is, you are perfection! Believe that! Comment below and tell me what you are giving yourself permission to do!

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