Life’s tough – get a helmet

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It always seems like the easy answer – when life gets hard we crawl into a small, safe spot and wait for the trouble to abate.  We play “turtle” and pull our heads into our protective shell and only poke our nose out to see if the potential threat has dissipated.

But we don’t realize that, while we are playing the role of that turtle, we are missing a significant portion of our lives and potentially a great lesson or two that could be learned if we face that trouble head on.  Nobody who was ever honest with us would have told us that life was easy.  It is those significantly difficult times that teach us the most about how to deal with tough situations, but more than that, it teaches us a lot about our own character.

We build our strength from the tough lessons we endure and we create that hard tortoise shell by deflecting negativity and warding off malicious situations.  Sure that shell is there to protect us, but not to completely shield us from the life that manifests itself before us.

Life is tough.  We need to strap on that helmet and go into the fight fully prepared for what is waiting to rear its ugly head.  No real dilemma was ever solved by just wishing it away.  Strap on the head gear and tackle life head on – your offensive line may be much tougher than you give it credit for!

Lazy days

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Everyone is entitled to have a lazy day every once in a while.  It recharges our batteries and gives us a much-needed to chance to store up the energy needed to face the days that follow it. Sometimes we just feel unproductive and unmotivated – and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, within reason. If your lazy days start turning into lazy weeks, you may want to rethink your strategy.

I used to have a real problem letting myself sit and do nothing. My brain always kicked into the guilt gear and I was forced to get off the couch and do all the things that were nagging at me from the back of my cranium.  I’m over that.  I am now able to embrace the feeling of not accomplishing a single thing.  There certainly are moments of boredom encompassed in that lazy day, but if I take that moment to remember the fast pace of any other day, that boredom is replaced by bliss.

The lazy day becomes about taking time for me and not stressing myself out if the laundry doesn’t get sorted or the dust accumulates for one more day.  Although today was not a completely lazy day.  After giving myself permission to actually sleep in, I did clean the house and I vacuumed the inordinate amount of dog hair from my carpet that seems to increase exponentially!!  But the rest of it was spent in a suspended state of oblivion…..and it was just what the doctor ordered.  I focused on what I needed instead of what needed to be done.

Those rest of those chores will still be beckoning for me tomorrow, but for today, the deck furniture and the couch won the argument.  Today is about my three favorite “R” activities – reading, red wine and regurgitating the countless words that whirl around in my brain. (there may be a movie thrown in for good measure)

I hope you all take the time to let yourself breathe – spend a lazy day doing the little things that make you feel human again.  And if you have any suggestions for things to do on that day of nothingness…..feel free to send along some suggestions…..I’m always looking for new ways to achieve lethargy!!

Strive for excellence, not perfection

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We all seek perfection – it is the pot of gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow.  But perfection is an elusive goal.  Realistically, if we take a step back and truly ascertain what we are trying to achieve, the end result would be excellence.  Perfection may present itself on test scores, but the culmination of our efforts in life will never be the absolute perfection that we seek.

There will always be one missing piece in the puzzle of life that impedes us from reaching that desired goal of true perfection.  If we analyse the bigger picture, we can still see what that portrait was meant to convey, and it may be the closest we get to the precision we sought in the first place.

Perfection is subjective.  What may seem perfect to you may have glaring inadequacies to another set of eyes.  On the other end of that spectrum, what others see as true beauty, you may find to be marred with flaws.  I used to bake wedding cakes.  I would spend tedious hours icing and decorating, only to chastise my own work because it could have been better.  But the bride and groom were always ecstatic when they walked into the room and rested their eyes on the fruits of my labour.  Completely subjective.

We need to be focused on being the best we can be and not get lost in the absurdity of being perfect.  It’s not going to happen.  There are too many outside influences ready to impede our progress and make us feel like we missed the mark.  But the benchmark of  success can only come from our personal definition.

I know I will never be perfect – at anything.  But I will continue to strive for excellence in everything I do.  I would be doing myself a grave disservice if I aspired to be anything less.

Spend your time wisely

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Today has been one of the best days of my summer.  I work in a fast paced environment.  I see many faces and deal with many personalities on a daily basis.  But today, I changed the face of my reality.  I am happily ensconced in the confines of my home.   I have yet to turn on the television or any music, but instead am enjoying the sounds of nature.  Crickets are happily chirping and the sound is being transported into my living room by the breeze that is blowing across my lawn.  The sun is out, but I am choosing this day to spend inside with no outside contact, no troublesome news and just doing what I love to do – write.

Being able to blog every day is a blessing.   But today, I was truly bitten by the writing bug again.  The fact that words can still flow so freely from my brain makes me deliriously happy and I am writing my first short story in what has been far too long a hiatus.  I awoke this morning to strings of words fighting to release themselves from their imprisonment in my head.  It was a battle of epic proportions to get the coffee poured and sit down in time to let the words tumble onto the page.  Images that have been burned into the recesses of my brain have now been expelled and the flow of creativity is moving at an alarming pace.

Characters are slowly coming to life of their own accord and leading me through a fable unknown to me before today.  Their strong personalities are guiding me through their story until we all meet at the conclusion of the tale.

I have many passions in my life, but writing is the one that truly wrings emotion from my soul and pours my heart onto a page.  It leaves me vulnerable to its whims and takes hold of me on its terms, not mine.  I am a prisoner of its grip and can only be the messenger of the collection of words that cascade onto the page.

Today, I spent my time wisely.   Today, I tuned out the outside voices and, instead, I heeded the wisdom of the voices in my head and let them take me on a journey.   What a ride it was!

Soul Mates & The Red String of Fate

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 “The Red String of Fate is an East Asian belief originating from Chinese legend.  It is based on the premise that the Gods tie a red string around the ankles of those who are destined to be soul mates and will one day marry each other.”  Wikipedia

 Some believe in the notion of having a soul mate and some do not.  I am hanging precariously balanced in the middle, only because I hold a strong conviction that the term should encompass much more than meeting your future spouse.  I have speculated this topic in my convoluted brain on many occasions.  Perhaps my definition of soul mate is too broad for the original intent for which it was created.  A soul knows instinctively when it has met a match.  True soul mates are not defined by a relationship, but merely joined by a common feeling, an intuition that you are meant to be a treasured part of each other’s lives.  You’ve assuredly had several friends in your life that inherently know you.  They understand your thoughts without you having to say a word.  They are a true kindred spirit.

I believe in reincarnation.  I trust that souls, lifetime after lifetime, strive to find each other again because they are meant to be connected.  Whether they are destined to be bound by the sanctity of marriage or merely cast as soldiers on the same proverbial battlefield, they are instinctively drawn to one another.  There is a compelling sense of familiarity, much like the feeling of deja vu – that firm belief that this experience genuinely happened in the past – and intuitively you are connected to each other’s energy.

Although my perspective on soul mates goes beyond husband and wife, I am fortunate to know many married couples that can, in fact, claim that they did marry their soul mate.  A chance encounter or a moment of serendipity, however it happened, their meeting had purpose.  Their love and respect for each other continues to grow through prosperity and adversity because their souls have known each other since long before their first physical connection.

Those ancient Gods may have had altruistic intentions, but just maybe, they temporarily lost their peripheral vision. Conceivably their red string had a bigger purpose for tying two souls together that extends beyond marriage and perhaps that notion was lost in translation.

Although the red string may be nothing more than a fable or a well presented myth, it nevertheless gives us hope that people are brought into our lives for a reason.  The responsibility lies within us to discover what that reason is.

Dance in the rain

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“Life isn’t about avoiding the storm, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” ~ Unknown

We all live pretty comfortable lives and it’s easy to skip through in the sunny times, but it’s what we do in the face of adversity that defines the type of person we are.  We can choose to hide from the bad weather in our lives, or we can choose to embrace the storm and learn to appreciate the gifts that it brings.

You have to want not simply to be alive, but to LIVE the life you have been given.  It is certainly easier to want to shelter yourself until the bad weather passes, but you may be passing up a great opportunity to throw caution to the wind and free yourself in the rain that storm provides.

If you take the risk, that cleansing shower of rain may wash away any negativity or fear and leave you feeling refreshed and ready to face those tumultuous thunder clouds.  You have to seize every opportunity presented in the wake of that storm and  make the most of those mottled grey skies.

As George Washington Carver said – “When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, that is when you command the attention of the world.”

Let the world see you throw your inhibitions back in the face of that storm and dance in that rain like it’s your last dance.  Show the world what you’re made of!!

Success

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Working in a team environment every day makes you realize that you are only as good as the team you have behind you.  Being in a leadership role, no matter how confident you are, will only take you so far without acknowledging the many people who follow your lead and give their all for that team.

I am fortunate to work with a great group of people.  Their true dedication to performing their jobs to the best of their ability makes my job that much easier.  Sure, we all have days that we would prefer to be anywhere else, but the struggles we face, we face together.  And that common bond makes us that much stronger of a team.

We face the hardships together, we jump in where we are needed and we all seem to strive for the same goal.  Those things alone would be enough of a recipe for success, but we are fortunate to enjoy a sense of camaraderie along the way and intersperse our day with laughter and a true sense of friendship.  Some days are more of a struggle than others to keep our heads above water and come out at the end of the day with a smile on our faces, but somehow we bounce back.

I salute my team members with this post – each and every one of them.   Your true dedication to a crazy five month season is something to be admired and you make it easy for me to come to work every day.

I hope that everyone reading this takes the time to thank the people who contribute to the success of their daily life, whether it be co-workers, friends or family.  A team is  team, regardless of its definition.  Take the time to thank the people who live, support or work with you and make sure that their efforts do not go unrecognised.   It is the combination of the team effort that ensures the height of the level of success.

To my family, my friends and my co-workers, my success is our success.  We would not be where we are without the support of each other.  I will end this post with nothing more than a giant – thank you!!