Lose Those Things that Weigh You Down… More Fun Than Sweating & Spinach
Dump the D’s
The first step is to Dump things that are energy suckers (not lollipops!) Kicking them to the curb is a great work out
1. DRAINERS & DOWNERS: Dump those situations, people & media that suck my energy with
“Ain’t it Awful” stories as well as ones that tell me how bad it is in the world.They leave me depressed and down. No wonder my best friends Ben & Jerry have to rescue me.
2. DRAMA: I’m declaring my life a “No Drama Zone & I’m becoming a “No Drama Mama” .When I spend too much time on my own or others recurring drama, its like indigestion.Just a repeat of what I should not have had in the first place & it keeps coming back. No Alka Selzer fixes this.
3. DIFFICULT & DEMANDING: I’m deleting these “donut holes” of people & situations that make me take to drink. They promise something good & look yummy at first but deliver only hot air & headaches. This applies to things I have bought that require huge time/energy to mange or people who do the same.I’ve had enough!
A steady diet of these weighs me down & makes me look for the bottle of wine.
Whew! I feel lighter already! Getting the “junk food” out of my life really works!
So now I have space for my New Meal Plan.
My new “Meal Plan” has lots of SOUL food: I’m feeding my Soul more than my body. I’m looking forward to:*A Breakfast of Champions- reading about and talking to people who are inspiring & making a difference.A great way to start my day.
*A Light Lunch of Laughter- I sit down to see “The Daily Show” rerun or read something that is silly. A pause that refreshes.
*Dinner Delights- My evening meal will be a savory stew of friends & loved ones with lots of juicy stories and bubbling with love.Very full – feeling & fulfilling.
All of course, flavored with a large amount of my award winning “Silly Spice”.
MY EXERCISE PLAN:* DO NOTHING DAY : I’m going to exercise my right to have a “Do Nothing Day” & “push back ” on all the the doing .I’m getting rid of the “Guilt Gut”.
After all, men all over are watching the games for hours and feel entitled to do that …why can’t I ? So I’m flexing my “No Guilt “muscle …its only Fitting.* PUMP UP POWER : My power lifting is to sing out loud to my favorite music at least once a day. There is nothing like a few minutes singing & dancing – you should see the moves I make up- to give me a “power lift” & a “luscious laugh”. And pump a little “iron ” into my spirits.
Move over Ellen !
So there you have it…The Soon To Be Famous “Dump Diet”. Guaranteed to make you fell lighter …if only because you had to laugh at me! So get with the program!
Lately, I have had the sensation of being in a movie where two different worlds are colliding and I’m sometimes not sure which one is the “ alternative “universe.
What happens is that one day, I see one version of a world & then a little later, I see something completely opposite.
Which world is right? Are we coming or going?
No wonder I’m getting whiplash!
Recent events have brought these in sharp contrast & I had some sharp realizations about what these differences mean especially for women.
First we had the amazing Olympics where, for the first time, every country had a women athlete. Women from every walk of life were glorious and gracious in their strength and power. Little girls everywhere now have real models to inspire them and they will see this a normal.
I realized that when I was growing up, I didn’t know about any women athletes at all, much less see them as famous and important.
Then there August 26 ,“Women’s Equality Day” which was designed to honor the day, 90 years ago, that women got the right to vote. The founding fathers had that right since the Revolutionary War but it took a long time for women to have that right.
When I realized that my grandmother was born into a world where she could not vote, it made it very real to me. And I know I often just take this for granted.
Then we had the “competing conventions” which had many differences but both featured inspiring speakers, including many women. Many came from humble backgrounds but had choices that helped them move forward. And all over the world, people listened to them and cheered.
And I realized that they grew up just like me, where they were able to live a life of more choices than their parents ever knew.
But then in another “world”, choices for women’s health as well as the ability to vote seem to be taken over and a totally different view of a world is being shown.
And I realized that I recognized these same scenes from my own long ago youth and I remember that time with much pain.
I felt very upset when I looked at this “world”. It seems like a step back in time…a time when choices were very limited and expectations for a better life were low. And while I know progress in never easy and that there is often a backlash, for a while I was very discouraged. Haven’t we been here before?
But the more I thought about it & looked around me, the more reasons I saw to feel positive about the future. Yes, there are these two competing views but which one do I want to live in?
All these “realizations” make me sure that we are moving forward even though some would like to take us back to an “old world”.
I know I do have a choice as to where I put my time & energy and that what I focus on will always grow…past pain included.
So when I see the young moms in my book club raising future presidents, my young neighbors changing education for children & the environment and my young niece being an equal partner in her marriage & her business, I begin to relax. They are creating a better world.
Just like every generation has always done.
And those Olympic athletes are certainly not going to accept anyone else’s view of their world. Try telling them that they can’t do something & you’d have to get far out of the way. Maybe go into another universe!
And so in the War of the Worlds, I know who will win.
“WORK IS NOW A PATCHWORK QUILT , NOT A SECURITY BLANKET
When WCNC News anchor & Observer columnist, Bobby Sisk asked me what trends I see in employment today, there was a lot to talk about. So much of what we have always thought of as “work” is changing dramatically.
I said, “Work is now more of a patchwork quilt, not a security blanket”.
The resulting Observer column he wrote echoed that thought but as I reflected on this idea, I realized that there is more to it than I first thought
And then I was reminded of the remarkable women of the tiny town of Gee’s Bend, Alabama?who created works of art by creating quilts. They didn’t start out to be artists but just wanted to make something practical to keep warm and maybe make a little money.
They had to use the materials they had. Just like most of us…they had a need and wanted to fill it
They just wanted to share their humble gifts with each other and their families.?The result was beautiful art that would be in major galleries across the country and bring some money and fame to their small town.
For many of us, our situation is much the same .
The trend I see now in employment is somewhat like that. People are creating small new businesses for practical reasons and the results are more than they ever thought.
Certainly, many folks have had second jobs in addition to regular full time ones and there are many ambitious new entrepreneurs. But this new trend is for people to start a new business and make it intentionally small – at least at first
The reasons are varied but may include:??-they want some income while they look for other work :
•they have looked for full time work but cannot find it
•family or health issues require more schedule flexibility
•they are training for a new career but need income now
•they are burned out, bored or feel stuck in current job
•they have longed to express themselves in ways that traditional ? work an’t accommodate
Some of the more important reasons are that creation is energizing and gives us a sense of purpose as well as credibility.
This may seem intimidating at first but it can be quite simple. It does not have to be big or time consuming to meet your needs.??You can do it in some form no matter what your age and there is research that says it helps you to live longer and be healthier!
Learning something new is good exercise for our brains.
An added bonus is that you will meet lots of people that you might ?otherwise never meet. They may make you a job offer you can’t refuse (that happened to me!).
All you need is a skill or a service you want to offer, a phone & ?a computer and most important, a willingness to learn.
There is lots of help out there for you, including me.
I don’t claim to be an expert but I have had 2 businesses, taught entrepreneurial skills for CPCC, am on the board for a entrepreneur networking group, & ran an entrepreneur support group that met 2x a month for 8 years. I also come from a long line of family entrepreneurs. And I’ve learned a lot the hard way!
I Love to Do This
And most important, I love to coach others in starting & growing their businesses. I am willing to do this for FREE if you pay it forward. (contact me for details)
Yes, I know that may not seem like fun some folks but like the quilters of Gee’s Bend, I know that works of creation often have humble beginnings.
“Medical Science does not know how to quantify the healing effects of joy.” Nelsa Ciaponni, MD
Dusty had a double mastectomy 5 years ago, but the cancer had returned. She had lots of unsuccessful chemo, and her future looked
bleak. Doctors recommended a drug trial, but she knew that it would mean that she would not be able to have quality time with her daughter in the last summer before she left for college.
So Dusty made a radical decision. She stopped the chemo and decided to pack as much good times into that summer as she could. She joined hundreds of other women riding their motorcycles across the county to raise awareness and money for breast cancer. And she soaked up lots of her daughter’s company. When the summer was over, she went in for a medical check up. She was found to be CANCER FREE!
When I read this story in Tamela Rich’s book “Full Throttle,”“ I was thrilled for Dusty, but not surprised. Tamela too reclaimed her life by reconnecting with her own joy. There are many stories like these, but we sometimes think they only happen to someone else or are a fluke.
The quote from Dr. Ciaponni really said it all. What if there is much more to the healing effects of joy than we have been led to believe?
Daily we are bombarded with huge amounts of ever changing information about how to “fix” our bodies, most of which are of the “no gain, no pain” mentality. Ugh – no wonder we don’t follow that advice. We don’t hear very much about changing our emotions in order to change our health.
What happened tobody,mind, and spirit? Somehow we have lost being whole humans and are only seen as parts.
Some years ago in England, a group launched a “Happiness Project“ in an effort to help reduce and prevent illness. Participants who enrolled in the project were subjected to thorough scientific tests to measure the results. They found that being happier actually changes your brain for the better in many powerful ways. Wow!
And since my brain can use all the help I can give it, I have nothing to lose and my mind to gain, or gain back, by being happier.
At Harvard, the most poplar course in the whole school is on the psychology of happiness. (And you thought going to Harvard was just about how to be president!). The instructor, Dr.Tal Ben-Sharar, wrote a book called “Happier,” about what he had learned from the class. Now I’m not smart enough to get into Harvard, but I’m smart enough to learn from them, and you are too
What a radical idea …being happier really makes us healthier and it is much more fun that sweating and spinach!
The more I learn about the connection between happiness and health, the more excited I am to find out more. I’m not saying that I know a lot yet, but it makes so much sense to me that I am very excited to share what I have found out. After all, we know a lot about how unhappy emotions can make us feel bad – why not learn more about what we can do easily to have more positive emotions? And besides, being a very bossy woman, I like having more control over my health and my life. Maybe you can relate?
The Health, Hope, & Happiness workshops coming up will provide a place to learn more about this mind/body connection and will be fun at the same time. What’s not to like?
As for my personal journey, I’m realizing that just adding a“Daily Dose of Delight” is becoming as important as taking my vitamins.
It is something to look forward to, and it’s free.
And when someone asks me what I‘m doing, I will just say,
“I’m taking my medication,” and then I will laugh out loud!
“You can never have enough of what you don’t really want”
It all started with 12 cans of tomatoes. On a cold rainy Saturday, I decided it was time to clean out my pantry. It seemed like a good thing to do, as my social calendar was blank. So I set to work and felt very vitreous.
12 Cans of Tomatoes?
That was, until I found 12 cans of various tomato products in my pantry. What in the world was I doing with 12 cans of tomatoes?
How did that happen? I like tomatoes but I can’t use 12 cans for a long time… what was I thinking? Obviously not much! It was mindless buying with little thought.
Hummm.. it seem like I’ve heard those words before. How often have I bought “stuff” because it was on sale or thought it was a quick feel better fix ? Finding all those tomatoes stacked before me caused me to think about questions I’ve been struggling with recently. How much is too much? When is it enough? How much do I really need to feel satisfied and secure?
Tough questions for me with little answers. But since we are just past the “too much of everything” season, this seem like a good time to explore them.
The question of “what is enough?” was stirred up with me while reading Geneen Roth’s best selling book,
She is best known for her books and work in the area of compulsive eating. But in this book, Geneen describes her life experiences after losing money with Bernie Maddoff’s investment scheme. The insightful information she provides on “what is enough?” applies to money & stuff, as well as food.
And as often happens after a major loss, Geneen began to explore what is really valuable in her life. Even after her financial loss, Geneen had what most of us would see as wealth. She began to realize that no matter how much of anything (money, food, clothes, clients, etc.) she had, it never felt rich enough for her.
Sometimes I have felt that way too.
An email from a friend in the Peace Corp working in Africa looked at the same question. My friend lives in a small pink house (pictured above) without electricity or running water. At times, she felt frustrated by not having these things even though she has one of the best houses in the village. She felt that way until she met an much older woman doing the same type of work as my friend but for another organization. This woman lived in a very small leaky old tent. After thinking about this, my friend decided her small pink house was really a “palace.” and became deeply aware that she had plenty.
So it seems that no matter what you do or don’t have materially, we are all faced with the question :
What do I need to feel content, satisfied and secure?
A peaceful place in between.
I realize that I don’t often know…in part because I don’t stop to think about or to pay attention to what I already have. I don’t think living in deprivation or martyrdom works either because it makes you deny that you need anything. Denial is always a trap.
But surely there is a peaceful place in between. And I do enjoy many things that make my life easier & will fight if you take my Ben & Jerry’s away.
But very,very slowly, I am finding that simply asking myself..”How much is enough? Makes me pause long enough to explore it. And usually I find that it is not the amount or even what I have, but the delight and appreciation of I have that is the fulfilling & satisfying part.
And I can never have too much of that, including gratitude for Cherry Garcia!
I really do live in a palace…and I’ll bet you do too.
Wow! It was a blast to be on “live” TV last week and your good wishes made it even better.
I felt so supported and like you were all there with me
I’ve gotten many emails & calls from folks who were sending good wishes even if they didn’t see it or read the follow up column in the Charlotte Observer on 9/19.
It’s really fun to have a “Fan Club”…even for a few days! Thank you.
Here’s the back story.
Bobby Sisk, news anchor on WBNC, channel 36, called me Tues. morning about 10 to see if I could do the interview. He asked me to be at studio by 3:45 that afternoon with somewhat sane answers to the questions he sent me. I’d been taped for tv before but this was live…no way to edit what you say.Gulp!
Of course, it was an already packed day and I wasn’t sure how I could fit another thing into it but somehow it worked out.This was a powerful motivation to get organized!
It was very interesting to see how the studio really looks and to be “miked up”in the “green” ( its really grey) room. Bobbie Sisk. the anchor, was so helpful and relaxed that he made it very comfortable but I didn’t remember what said till I saw the tape.Seeing yourself on video is always a surprise.More makeup next time.
And his follow up email to me said: “Thank you- you are great to work with!”. What a classy guy !
I learned a lot in the experience and will be sharing that in regular newsletter soon.
I hope the information was useful.Several people told me I need to share this kind of info more so I will think about ways to do that.One person suggested a podcast, anther suggested public tv.Hummm….Your suggestions on that would be helpful & apprecaited.
So thank you to all of you & to Bobby for sharing the fun!
Wow- it was quite a trip! My recent vacation opened my eyes to many things…not only to the magnificent Rocky Mountains but the magnificent people who helped me get there. Most of them were complete strangers.
Not only was it a journey to a different place in the mountains but also a different place within me. Both locations were, at times, somewhat scary but very interesting.
The Great Old Broads have Style
In our hot NC summers, I like to go to somewhere cool so when I read about the Great Old Broads for the Wilderness trip to The Colorado Rockies, I was delighted. I could reconnect with an old friend in Denver and then camp out with the “Broads”. And be part of this amazing group dedicated to environmental causes as well as having fun. ”Libations for Happy Hour” were listed in instructions on what to bring….my kind of camping.
Those people are “Strangers”
The logistics of getting from Denver to the camp- 300+ miles away and getting gear across the country and other considerations seemed daunting but I kept thinking that somehow it could be done. I didn’t have a clue as to how.
Before I left, several people said ‘ “But you will be around strangers- you don’t know anyone in that group”. Little did I realize that this was a great advantage!
Exploring the Ins & Outs of Travel
I did find that one of the gifts of travel is to explore different places, including the ones you carry around inside of you.
Faking my strong woman act came young. I was raised to be very self-sufficient and take care of things myself. Early I learned to say the “Everything is just fine” line with the fake smile plastered on. And while this early training has been useful in many ways, it has also sometimes kept me from being truthful about what I was feeling and, of course, seldom asking for help. Sometimes, this has caused me to feel isolated and weary as I had to do it all myself.
The Kindness of Strangers
But on this trip, I truly began to learn to “rely on the kindness of strangers” because that was all that was around me. I had to ask for help regularly. And I also found that, just telling the truth about how I was feeling opened up vast amounts of support that I didn’t even know I wanted but loved having. And it connected me in very powerful ways.
The list of gifts, support & fun from folks I didn’t know is very long and I am very grateful for it all. The generosity still astounds me. From open arms hospitality from some one I had not seen in 15 years, to “taxi” service all over Denver, to a 600-mile ride, a hot shower and a stay in a luxury trailer, I was beautifully taken care of.
It’s Blowing In the Wind
But the best gift was how this trip showed me a part of myself that needed to be “blown away ” by the mountain wind. It was time to let go of an old, worn out way of being.
It was time to give up the “I can do it myself ” act and leave it like a pair of hiking boots that don’t fit any more. I”m trading them in for support, comfort & a new style. The sense of freedom is as intoxicating as the mountain views.
It only took a 3000-mile trip for me to find out that sharing my journey is all it takes to turn strangers into friends. I’m never alone because strangers are everywhere.
Sometimes I’m a little slow…but I do finally get there.
Ever had the experience of where you realize that something you that used to make you feel good …an outfit, a place or even a person…don’t seem to fit right or feel as good as they once did? What happened to it while I wasn’t looking?
I have been having that experience lately.
When this happens, I usually try to deny it or try to make it work by putting in lots of effort to recapture what I am losing. I will make it work, I say…which of course is just asking for more frustration but then, I’m a slow learner.
Often I felt naked & vulnerable as it feels like things that have changed things are the things make me feel secure. I resent that I didn’t have a choice that my “blankness “ are going w away.
With lots of resistance...
It started to happen last fall when I had some health challenges and was advised to slow down some and not work so hard. I knew it was good advice and although difficult to put into practice, I liked the idea. And thought it would be great to have more time for myself.
So with some (lots) of resistance, I began to let go of some projects and obligations.
When winter came, I enjoyed some hibernating but still kept my long list of “to dos”. The quiet voiced kept asking me, ” Who would you be without all the doing?” It was scary to think of that.
But by spring, I began to get restless and felt “fenced in” by all the “musts & shoulds” I had built around me.
With reluctance, it began to occur to me all the “duties “ gave me some identity as well as kept me very busy with no time to look around.
The “safe places “ no longer fit or felt as good.
And while that was very good for a long time, I could also see that it also kept me in one place. My protection “fences” had, in some ways, became barriers. The “safe places “ no longer fit or felt as good.
I began to see that I needed to slow down so I could pay attention at first. But now I needed to clear some room to grow…. I needed more wide-open spaces and fewer fences.
If every day is filled, it leaves little room for creating & exploring.
What would my life be like if I could let go a little and open space for new and old dreams to appear? And if I could allow myself to feel unsure and naked a bit, maybe I could take down some of my “fear fence”…and I might have a great new view!
So now as I take baby steps in exploring some new areas, I like playing the old cowboy song, ” Don’t Fence Me In “ and the Dixie Chicks wonderful song celebrating “Wide Open Spaces” .
They remind me that it is only in outgrowing our fences, that we are truly free
“People are like stained glass windows.Sparkle & shine when the sun shines but when it is dark, you only see the beauty if there is light within.” Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
History is really on my mind now with Black History month just passed, Women’s History in March this month & in own birthday coming up soon. All of these make me reflect what history and heroes really are. In the midst of living our lives we don’t often see the things we are doing with much appreciation of they really mean.
For many of us, when we think of our own history, it appears to be a story of missed opportunities, wrong turns and failures.Yet when we learn about others people’s history,we often see their struggles as very important parts of the story. But of course, living thru those challenges doesn’t seem very inspiring at the time.
Just doing what needs to be done.
Just doing what needs to be done seems very ordinary when you are the one doing it but very important to the people it affects. Rosa Parks said she just wanted to sit down on the bus after a long day at work. Betty Friedan just wrote a book ( The Feminine Mystique ) about housewives like herself that help to start the Women’s movement
Her “cloudy lens” story.
Recently a client gave a great example of how our own views are often cloudy.
She had quit her unfulfilling job to start her own business when her husband was laid off. She tried to keep her business going but soon realized that it was not going to support her family and the stress was causing lots of problems. So she went back to her previous profession to get some money coming in and put her dream of her own business on hold.
Like so many of us, she felt she was just “doing what needed to be done”.
Yet, as she told me her story, it was filled with self-criticism of what she should have done and the mistakes she felt she had made. She was crying as she told it.
I suggested that she was seeing it thru a “cloudy lens” ‘and that she could
re-write her story to focus on the effect of what she had done…saving her family. And that is a very big deal to them.
My own history and inheritance.
I know this story very well as my mother did the same thing. She went to work for the first time at age 42 and eventually opened a business as a way to support us when my father became ill. Her courage and willingness to do “what needed to be done ” are the best inheritance I have.
A New Story
As I retold my client’s story, from new point of view, her tears stopped and she begin to smile.
“What a gift…and a relief- to see it thru other eyes. I never thought of it that way. I think I’ll change my story,” she said.
This long-term effect is huge…. Rosa Parks just sat on a bus, Betty Friedan just wrote a book, but both of these ordinary acts changed our lives.
What Heros Are
Hero are not born, I think, but are often ordinary people who just do what needs to be done and in doing that, give the rest of us a much different and better history.
Jeannie Fennell is optimistic by nature. She is also realistic when it comes to the energy it takes to search for a job. She encourages job seekers to find a balance between looking for work and still living their lives.
Fennell is a former recruiter, employment manager and college career counselor. She now operates her own company called Lifeworks.
“I do this whole talk about making sure you have some things to do that have nothing to do with the job search. Learn something new, do something fun, get rest and get exercise. That is so critical because looking for a job is very stressful and it is very draining,” Fennell said.
In her practice, she is seeing some good trends. “First thing people want to know is are you seeing more people getting jobs?” Her answer is yes. “It definitely is a slow growth, but it is a growth. Just the other day someone e-mailed me and said, ‘I’ve been unemployed two years and hardly gotten any interviews and now I’ve gotten three.’”
That said, there is still one major area where Fennell says many job seekers need to focus: “Most people say, ‘I’ve been really looking. I’ve sent out hundreds of resumes.’. And I say, ‘Wrong.’ What people don’t understand is there are more jobs out there but it is just like it’s always been and more so. Eighty to 90 percent of all jobs are filled by somebody who knows somebody.”
In other words, get out and beat the bushes. And most important, never underestimate your connections. You don’t know who your friends or former colleagues know until you ask. “They may find something for you. Or at least someone for you to talk to,” Fennell said.
I’ll give you an example. A co-worker recently mentioned she was writing a letter of recommendation for a friend who was applying for a job. Ends up, I knew not only the applicant but also a member of the board that oversees that employer. Again, this is proof that in your job search, it can end up being a small world.
Fennell is also seeing more of her clients finding contract work. Others, she says, are starting their own businesses. Whatever direction you decide, she reminds you to strike a balance: “At the end of the day, when you’ve had just one more rejection, it really helps to say, ‘I’m going to do this tonight. Have something to do.’”
Jeannie is a psychologist & life coach who helps you identify what’s right with you and gives practical, positive tools & skills to create a life that works.
“My clients are bright competent people who just need a new perspective, new tools and support as they go through life transitions.”
Clients facing changes in career, finances, relationships and health consult with Jeannie during individual sessions or through workshops and presentations.
Contact Jeannie for a free 30-minute consultation to determine whether she's a good fit for your circumstances.