It's 8:38 PM (CST), and I'm still enjoying National Coffee Day!
And, no, it's not decaf.
I don't know that I can be qualified as a hard core coffee drinker though. I like my cup o' joe with so much creamer in it that I can't really taste the coffee.
Yeah, I know, I'm a wanna be coffee connoisseur.
I don't care though. I like it the way I like it.
I didn't always like it though. In fact, I was downright opposed to coffee, but then I became a counselor and the rest is history.
Actually, I have no idea what the correlation is between the start of my coffee habit and the beginning of my school counseling career. It's probably a mere coincidence, but when I tell people that I started drinking coffee about the time I became a counselor, they shake their heads knowingly. I don't know what they know that I don't know, but they seem to know something. I just shake my head in agreement as if I'm right there with them.
Here is what I do know about coffee though (for me anyway):
Having a cup of coffee with my breakfast kickstarts my day. I actually don't drink all that much, more like a shot plus a little more.
I take a big mug of it to school, and nurse it until around 10:00. If I'm not done with it by then, oh well. I dump it out and drink water the rest of the day.
Sometimes when I come home in the afternoon or early evening after my workout, I will reheat whatever is left over while I'm making supper.
I enjoy going to a coffee shop and trying something different when I get a chance to.
Sitting outside drinking a cup of coffee while reading the newspaper or writing in my journal is relaxing and peaceful.
Sometimes my son Nolan and I will meet at Legends Coffee Shop in Omaha to do some writing and catching up.
Last Saturday, my daughter Jaelyn surprised me with Starbucks while I was getting my hair dyed.
Coffee is much more than just something to drink. It's something to sip, ponder, and wonder over. So, even though today is National Coffee Day, it's simply one more reason to celebrate something I cherish daily for reasons beyond the taste.
As I went into a room to work with one of my students today, I asked if I could help him. He yelled, "No!"
I hesitated and then said calmly, "I'm not sure why you just yelled at me. I just asked if I could help you and I didn't yell at you."
He looked at me with his head cocked to the side, "Oh," came the soft response.
And that was it. He accepted my help and thanked me twice before he left.
We hear a lot of loud voices and yelling in our world today. I didn't watch the presidential debate last night, but I heard bits and pieces of it. It wasn't the words I heard but more or less the volume of them that caught my attention.
Why do people think that louder is going to get you heard?
I think volume is both overrated and overused. It's gotten to the point where people tune it out. So, what solution do some people come up with?
Get even louder.
Uh-huh, because that has worked well to this point.
I take the opposite approach a majority of the time, because it does more to diffuse a situation than escalate it. I find that when I'm calm and use a soothing voice, my body is relaxed and the other person can sense it subconsciously.
These days I refuse to get angry for the most part. It isn't worth it, and the results are never what I set out to get. I never feel particularly positive or good even if I do get my way. For lack of a better word, I just feel "icky."
I attribute my overall progress toward a more calm and content state to three things:
1. Spending time daily with my higher power - in my case, this means God. I spend time every morning reading the New Testament, I have a daily prayer list, and I put out there whatever is on my heart no matter what time of day it is.
2. Spending time in meditation. I'm so glad that meditation is called a practice, because overall I'm not very good at it. My mind wanders a ton, but I'm getting better at bringing it back to the breath. I meditate either for 10 minutes in the morning or 10 minutes at night. Sometimes I end up doing it at both times.
3. Spending time writing in my journal. I start and end my day with it, because it's the precursor to my day and the reflection piece before I go to bed. Most of the time I write pen to paper, but sometimes it happens on my phone app or at 750words.com. It just helps to get my thoughts out in a brain dump.
Because I make an effort to incorporate these three things into each day, I can tell when I'm in a stressful situation and remain calm that it's because of my personal self-care.
The quiet voice within speaks out, and that's what gets heard.
Believe it or not, I just picked these banana peppers from the garden this morning. I also picked five more tomatoes.
Just when I thought it was time to clear the garden out, I discovered there are still more vegetables growing.
Life kind of works that way sometimes. Just when we're about to give up on something, then suddenly we see progress and growth from our hard work. We just can't quit. It's okay to take a break if we need it, but quitting is not an option.
I recently reread this poem, and it hits the mark for so many of us:
Don't Quit - by John Greenleaf Whittier
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don't quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out,
Don't give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.
For all the sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: "It might have been!"
In fact, I'm going to put it up on my bulletin board so that I can read it each day.
Right now I'm in a season of my life where I'm not working out on a consistent basis. I'm stretching or doing yoga everyday, and I'm going for walks 3-4 times a week. I'm just not going all out best mode at the gym working out and doing tons of cardio.
I was feeling guilty, because I wasn't making time for the gym. Then I realized that sometimes we just go through seasons of life where other things take priority and that's okay. I love my gym workouts and how they make me feel, but right now I have other priorities and I've scaled back. The gym will still be there when I return, and I know that I will feel better in the big picture when I'm able to make the commitment when I'm ready again.
In the meantime, I'm still eating well and doing light workouts. That's what works for me right now. and that's perfectly fine.
When we first lost the internet at work this morning, it was no big deal. It happens sometimes. It's off for a few minutes and then we are back up and running.
The few minutes became 30.
Then it was an hour.
Then we hit hour number two.
What in the world was happening here?! Were we doomed to be without internet ALL DAY long?!
And then just like that, it miraculously started working again.
Call me absolutely weird, but as the time clicked on without it, it became a challenge to figure out how I could still be productive without an internet connection.
I did something archaic. I opened a Word document.
Then I did something reaching even further back in time.
I pulled out a notepad and pen.
I know! Crazy, right?! And I got to work.
In some ways, it was kind of refreshing not to be connected. We've heard it all before about the need to disconnect, and I completely agree. Some people take a sabbatical from technology for a day each week. Like from ALL technology -- no TV, computer, iPad, phone, etc.
Hmmm, I wonder what that's like?
I've thought about it. And, if I could survive two hours without having internet, maybe I could try it...
Being bold and taking risks give us an adrenaline rush. We get goosebumps with anticipation as we dare to try something different.
Leo Babauta's book, The Effortless Life, is doing exactly that for me. Babauta's philosophy in the way he lives his life is giving me a lot to think about, but there is one concept in particular that has inspired me to give a shot: having no expectations.
Think about it.
We always have expectations about how we think things should go. Things over which we have absolutely no control, even though we think we do.
One such way has to do with others. We get someone a gift that we are totally excited about giving. We excitedly wait as he/she opens it and think that the reaction to the gift is going to be nothing short of fireworks shooting off overhead.
It doesn't happen. Instead, our perception is a lukewarm reception to a gift we thought was out of this world.
We're disappointed. We put forth so much time and effort toward this gift, and this is the thanks we get?!
Babauta suggests changing our mindset to having no expectations. This means we do things for the pure enjoyment of having done them. When we don't concern ourselves with the other person's reaction not meeting our expectations, we feel good about the action itself.
The mindset is like performing random acts of kindness anonymously, but in this case the anonymous part is not being cognizant of the other person's reaction. If the person acknowledges what we did, it's icing on the cake. We're not expecting it, so no harm no foul.
We're free to enjoy the moment either way.
I think Babauta is really on to something.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.