Tonight I was cooking dinner and listening to some acoustic feel good music.
I wanted to check my Facebook on my phone, but I didn't.
I wanted to read an article on dailygood.org, but I didn't.
I wanted to take the dog outside really fast, but I didn't.
Why didn't I do any of these things? Because I'm trying really hard to "take care of this moment", and in that moment I was cooking dinner.
Gandhi's 5th rule for change (from Henrik Edberg's article on the positivityblog.com called Gandhi's 10 Rules for Change) beckons us to take care of this moment.
We've all heard the saying that goes something like this:
"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present."
The present moment is our concern, but how often do we get distracted or try to do too many things at one time? Hmmm, I'm going with ALL THE TIME!!!
I am getting better at this though and that's because of a 10-minute daily meditation practice, and I do mean practice. Quite honestly, I'm not very good at meditation. My mind wanders all over the place, and I'm constantly reminding myself to "get back to the breath."
Sometimes I don't think I'm getting anywhere with meditation, and then when I stay in the moment like I did making supper tonight, I realize I'm making progress.
When a student talks to me, and I don't do anything else but focus on his/her words, I realize I'm making progress.
When I'm eating lunch with my companions, I'm enjoying conversation rather than thinking about what I need to get done with my afternoon, and that's when I realize I'm making progress.
When I go for a walk or run in the morning and focus in on putting one foot in front of the other instead of running through my plan for the day, that's when I realize I'm making progress.
All we can honestly do is take care of one moment at a time. That's all we should be doing. We are more efficient and productive by working on one task at a time. We connect and build relationships with others by staying in the moment with them.
We are only promised this day, this moment. Spending it needlessly worrying about what happened yesterday or what might happen an hour from now is pointless. Taking care of this moment is our only concern, our only option really. That is, if we're looking for peace in our lives.
And that my friends...that sounds pretty amazing to me.
I love my new planner!
It allows me to organize my day, put together a to-do list, has inspirational quotes in it, a place to put my top three priorities, a place to write my gratitude for the day, a place to write notes, and what I'm going to do that evening.
It's awesome! It has everything!
And, it's absolutely useless unless I actually DO what I write down I say I'm going to do.
Gandhi's 4th rule for change is, "Without action you aren't going anywhere." (adapted from Henrik Edberg's article, Gandhi's 10 Rules for Change, June 28, 2013).
My first reaction was, "Duh," but then I started thinking about all the times I've planned and organized to do something but then didn't follow through with the action.
Oops, guilty as charged.
It's such a simple and straightforward rule, but the execution is difficult and that's because we get in our own way unless we have a strong enough and compelling reason for the action.
When I was preparing to run my first half-marathon five years ago, I stuck to the training plan and was excited to accomplish this goal. It was a novelty and a new challenge (compelling reason), because I never thought this would be something I would aspire to attempt and yet there I was.
The plan was in place and the action followed. It was a four month process, and when race day arrived I was ready to go.
So, when I think about this rule, there are three basic steps:
1. Have a plan.
I wanted to run a half-marathon, so I found a 16-week training plan and organized my training days. I made a commitment to them, because I set each run as an appointment.
2. Have a compelling reason for action.
It always starts with WHY. Why do you want this action/change to happen? What are you willing to DO to make it happen? I wanted to complete a half-marathon, because it was a new fitness challenge for me. My exercise routine had gotten stagnant and I wanted to do something different. In this case, it was that simple.
DO it! Like I said earlier, make it an appointment that you keep. You wouldn't skip out on a scheduled meeting with others, so don't skip out on yourself. You are the most important meeting you will ever have. When you execute your plan, in this case you are doing something for yourself that is beneficial to you. It has a ripple effect, because when you feel better about yourself, your interactions with others are also more positive.
This is just one personal example, but it's the same in all facets of our lives. If we want change to happen professionally, spiritually, civically (I might have just made up that word...), then we have to act.
These steps are basic but are absolutely necessary if we're going to get to where we want to go. That is, if we want change to happen.
Forgive and let go...
Forgive and let go...
Forgive and let go...
Kind of like Dorothy clicking her heels three times and wishing to be back in Kansas, maybe saying this three times will make it happen?
In Gandhi's 10 rules for change this is #3. I have a feeling these are going to get even more challenging as we go along.
This one is a tough one for me. Sometimes I think I have forgiven, but I haven't let go. Then there are other times when I know I have not done either one.
Yesterday morning was a timely example. I was out for a walk and was thinking about something that has bothered me for a few years now. It wasn't something done directly to me, but it has troubled me and I haven't let go. Recently, something else along the same vein popped up and all those familiar feelings of anger and disgust washed over me.
As I walked along feeling my Irish ire start to perk up, I took a deep breath, slowly exhaled, and asked myself, "Why are you still letting this bother you?"
My eloquent answer, "I don't really know."
I took a deep breath and slowly exhaled again. "How is this affecting you?"
Thinking a little harder and breathing deeply before answering, "It's making me feel anxious and upset."
"Is it affecting the other person?"
"The other person probably has no idea that I'm even upset about this."
"Then let it go."
And, as I finished my walk, I found myself at peace, because I did just that. Even though the other person has no idea to this day how frustrated I've periodically been, in my heart I let all be forgiven and I let go.
This inner dialogue worked wonders for me, but I believe you have to be in the right frame of mind in order for the forgiveness and letting go to be real. If you don't feel it, it's just lip service. In this situation, I've told myself numerous times to just forgive and forget, but it was more like a shallow pep talk and didn't work.
I get it now.
The deep inhale was the forgiveness and the exhale was letting it go.
This is where real change starts to happen.
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
-- Eleanor Roosevelt
This might quite possibly be my favorite quote of all time. It reminds me that I'm in control of how I feel, what I react to, and how I conduct myself.
Gandhi's 2nd rule for change (this is the 2nd blog of 10) is "You are in control."
Eleanor Roosevelt's quote reminds me of the fact that I'm in control. If I let others put me down and make me feel inferior, it's all on me. I've taken the control out of my hands and put it into theirs.
When someone is negative, I get to decide if his/her negative attitude is going to affect my day. I can decide whether or not I'm going to listen to gossip. I can decide whether or not I'm going to get caught up in someone else's drama.
There was a day when with all three I made the choice to cave in to the negative attitude, gossip, and drama. I was a much unhappier person during that time.
When I decided to take control of myself, then things rapidly changed for the better. I limit my time around negative friends and colleagues. When someone tells me gossip or expresses drama in the workplace or personally, I listen and then walk away letting it go in one ear and out the other.
I control what I allow into my life. This probably explains why I no longer watch the news, unfollow friends on Facebook who put others down or whose views are drastically different from my own, and watch very little TV unless it's a sporting event.
Instead, I read motivational blogs, listen to personal and professional development podcasts, read books that expand my mind, listen to uplifting music, meditate, lift, run, and spend massive amounts of time with my family (they are my favorite people).
Controlling what and who I allow into my life, along with the activities I participate in, have been some of the best decisions I've ever made. It has made me a much more positive and happier person.
Remember, you have control over yourself. Don't let anyone tell you differently.
I recently came across this website called Daily Good: News that Inspires (dailygood.org).
And I'm hooked.
The reason is simple. It focuses on the positive and good news in the world.
I recently read an article called, "Ghandi's 10 Rules for Changing the World." It was written by Henrik Edberg, syndicated from positivityblog.com (June 28, 2013).
For the next 10 blog posts, I'm going to focus on the 10 Rules with my own twist on them. The first is, "Change Yourself."
Many people think that if they change their environment or buy something that will set them up for success, that's all they need to make a change. Although these are complementary ideas, first things first. We must change ourselves.
If we want to get rid of those extra pounds for good, we have to change our mindset about food and exercise and then execute the change in mindset.
We can't look at food as, "I have to give up chocolate cake." We need to look at it as, "I get to eat more fruits and vegetables, which I know are beneficial for me and will make me feel better."
When it comes to exercise, we can't think, "Ugh, I have to get up and go to the gym today." Instead, we need to think, "I'm so lucky to have a gym 10 minutes from my house and I have the opportunity to go and work my body."
Notice the change in mindset?
Then we need to execute it by actually eating more fruits and vegetables and getting to the gym for our workouts. This is followed by genuinely feeling good about those choices and repeating them. As we get into a rhythm of repeating the good habits, they morph into a natural part of who we are.
But it all starts from within. Change yourself first and see what happens next.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.