Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Trim more than the tree this holiday season

All through December, the focus is on trimming the tree, until January, when the focus is on trimming the waistline... but there’s so much more to trimming than baubles, beads and bellies. Trimming down has a way of freeing us. We can fly higher because we’re not weighed down so much.

Trim Your Possessions

I love to ‘clean house’ at the end of every year. I go through my closet and take out everything and 20% is not allowed back in. I go though the books I’m finished reading, and set aside 10% for charity and 10% for friends and then I do a sweep through my house for anything else whose time has come.

Taking it to a charity does many things. It puts your stuff to good use, it helps others in need, it’s a great tax write-off and it just feels good to help.

Trim Your Expenses

Lowering your expenses is not just for bad economies anymore. There are so many ways to save money, with very little effort, and without sacrificing quality. You can cut out those things you just don’t need (I got rid of all the “special packages” that the cable company offers; you may even want to get rid of the cable altogether). You can exchange one service for another that’s less expensive (like shopping around for phone service or insurance). You could even ask for lower rates, if your service provider wants to keep you as a customer. And, of course, there are always coupons (same great product, only cheaper).

Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.

Trim Your Associations

When MySpace and Facebook first came out, it became a race to see who could get the most “friends”... but seriously, ask yourself this, if you were ever in need of help, who would really come to your rescue and who would just tweet about it? And IRL (In Real Life) how many people do you deal with that take up more time than you’ve got?

It might seem bad to separate yourself from others. After all, no one likes being ‘rejected’ just as much as you might not like being seen as ‘selfish’ but it’s time to take a close look at all the people in your life. There are those that really love and care about you... and they’re not getting as much time as they could because of these ‘other people’.

Trim Your Commitments

It’s amazing how much stuff we DO. We spend so much time DOING that we have no time to get anything DONE. I know, I know, the world will come to an end of you don’t do XYZ; and if you don’t do it, it won’t get done... yadda yadda yadda. Sit down and look at your calendar. For every five things you do, consider dropping one of them. That’s 20% right there.

Trim Your Extras

And then there’s just STUFF… you know, the miscellaneous stuff that just sort of tags along in your life. I’d list them, but I just don’t have the time. Don’t worry, if you look, you’ll spot them. Just look at everything in your life, and if it’s just sort of “there” which doesn’t really add much to your “here” then just let it go.

If you do all that, what you’ll get in exchange is more time, more space and more money. Then you can take your remaining 80% and give it your all!

If you forget the list, just remember P-ossessions, E-xpenses, A-ssociations, C-Commitments, E-xtras. You’ll also get PEACE… and isn’t that really what it’s all about?

Peace, out!

And keep the light on!

Friday, December 24, 2010

You're prefect just the way you are

The problem with ‘Perfect’ is that it’s constantly moving and shifting. As soon as you think you’ve got it, someone else comes along to tell you that it’s something else entirely!

You’ve heard the saying “nobody’s perfect” so why even try? The pressure’s too much, and you’re bound for disappointment.

Instead focus on becoming your best, and doing your best each and every single time. Sure, run the race to be #1, but don’t label that as “perfect”. Doing your best and getting the best results are where it’s at.

And to that I add… “even when you’re not #1”

Do you know why we’re not “perfect”? It’s so we’ve got something to work on while we’re here in Life. It gives us something to strive for, and something to look back on and say “hey, I did it!”

And just between you and me, don’t you find “imperfect” people more interesting? People with quirky ways of seeing things, and scars with stories? I love those people!

People who are people.

People who not only embrace their humanity, but raise up the very definition of humanity just by being themselves.

That’s why I love you.

Keep the light on!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Just because one chapter is closed, doesn't mean the story's over

There’s a lyric in the song “Closing Time” by Semisonic that says so much, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

Sometimes we get so caught up in something that when it ends, as most things do, we end up overwhelmed by grief.

Now there are monumental times in our lives that require grieving, and those moments need to be revered; but getting caught up in grieving every... little... ending... only ties us to the past. We stay stuck like a lead balloon.

OK, let’s face it, change is uncomfortable. It’s unfamiliar, full of uncertainty and our imaginations can fill in the unknown with all sorts of monsters… but it’s also incredibly exciting! New experiences lead to new growth. It can lead to the letting go of bad habits and the disappointments of unfulfilled expectations. It’s hopeful.

So when some chapter of your life is done, just be grateful for all that it has done for you; then look ahead. There’s still so much more of YOU left untold.

Keep the light on!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Believe it's going to get better... even on the good days

You ever notice that we cheer ourselves up through the bad times by reciting “It’s going to get better” yet when things are going really good we forget about it... or worse, think “this isn’t going to last”? You wouldn’t think you’d think of sabotaging all the good things in life, but it happens all the time; in very subtle ways. They may not even be catastrophic setbacks, just tiny little adjustments that keep you from getting higher than you’ve gotten in the past.

So when things are starting to go your way, keep checking in with what you’re saying to yourself and others about those moments. Are you playing humble (“Oh it was nothing”)? Or self-sacrificing (“I don’t deserve this”)? Or are you being receptive (“I like this!”) and grateful (“Thank you!!”)?

You know something... gravity has been lying to you. It gave you the idea that what goes up MUST come down... and you’ve been applying that to EVERYTHING else in your life.

What goes up can keep going up. There’s really no limit. Beyond UP is OUT... and OUT is infinite.

So get OUT of your own way, and keep UP now, will you?!

And keep that light on!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Sometimes stepping back is moving forward.

You know that saying "Can't see the forest for the trees." Basically it means, you're just too close. You can't see the big picture and everything just seems so much bigger than it really is.

Kind of like Life, eh?

Often times, you'll hear me say that the answers really ARE that simple. Actually, most answers are simpler than we think. It's just whenever I say that, the other person then engulfs me with all the reasons that their situation is DIFFERENT... detail after detail, trying to get me to see things as close as they do.

Well, blinding me with details won't actually solve your problem.

Backing away from it will.

When was the last time you actually took a break? Do you actually take a day off each week just to catch your breath? Or do you pack those days up with all the details you neglect during the week?

How about just taking a break during the day... for ten minutes at a time? Or do you 'just don't have the time'?

When you're constantly too close, you lose more than just the bigger picture... you lose time as well. When you don't take the time, you actually end up not having the time.

That seems contradictory, but it really isn't.

When you take a break, and step back, you get insight that can save you time in the long run. It's like being on the top of the mountain, where you can see a shorter route that you wouldn't notice if you were in the valley below.

So this week, take the time to step back. Give yourself some breathing room... give yourself some space to get a fresher perspective... take a moment for your Self... and you'll see just how far forward you can go by stepping back.

Keep the light on!