life


It’s the middle of the summer.  The heat wave is just beginning for many of us.  Our pace becomes slower.  Our energy is sapped easily.  Sometimes our patience runs a little thin.  The effects of the summer weather on each of us can be a metaphor for what happens to us when we overextend ourselves.  How often have you found yourself at the end of a full and busy work week dreading how much you have to do on the weekend?  The demands on your time seem never-ending; the to-do lists seem to get longer; our compassion seems to wane.

The effects of the summer heat can be neutralized by following some hot-weather guidelines:  dress in light colors in loose-fitting clothing; stay in air-conditioning; eat smaller meals; drink plenty of water; stay away from alcohol and spicy foods; etc. 

Well, the effects of overextending yourself can be neturalized as well by refreshing yourself.  Take frequent breaks. Keep your sense of humor active.  Prioritize your to-do list so that you can let the lower level tasks float to the next list.  Give yourself at least one energy boost a day.  You decide what your own energy boost is.  It could be taking the dog for a walk; sitting and having a glass of iced tea; calling your best friend for a chitchat.  We each have our own  list of energy boosts.  Sometimes we just forget to use them.

So, listen to your body when you start to get overextended.  Refresh yourself.  Your summer heat wave can use a breath of fresh air!

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We are all familiar with walking down the street and coming to a crossroads with a stoplight and the direction of “walk, don’t run” flashing when it’s our turn to cross the street.  What a wonderful saying for our journeys through life.

How often does it happen that before you know it, a day has passed and you don’t remember the feelings or impact your actions or experiences have had on you?  You have gotten a host of things done off your to-do list and start preparing your list for the next day.  Maybe a sense of accomplishment is felt, but what was your experience of this day?  What opportunities did you miss or what challenges were skipped because of racing through that checklist of “productivity”?

I do not discount how busy our schedules can be and the errands and chores that require attention on a daily basis.  But, consider this.  We all have been driving down a city street, noticing and trying to avoid the vehicle that weaves in and out of traffic to get ahead of everyone else.  How many of you are aware that more often than not you catch up with the hurried driver at the next stoplight?

The point is that we get nowhere fast when we race through life.  We miss the nuances, the beauty, the life lessons, the seeds for wisdom whenever we hurry, destined to repeat the same mistakes, miss the important messages, and feel drained of energy.  There is no finish line to cross, no person to beat, no stopwatch to monitor.

Life truly is not a race to be won, but a journey to be enjoyed.  Make sure you see all the sights:  Walk, Don’t Run!

Today, all around us, there is so much that could trigger a pessimistic attitude towards life.  We all know what our triggers are.    How can I see the rainbow when it’s raining so hard?  How can I see the glass half full when even the glass is dirty?  Silver lining?  What silver lining?  What I want to focus on is cultivating optimism in the face of today’s struggles.

Cultivating optimism begins with attitude.  How we look at a situation, event, or interaction demonstrates which side of the attitudinal scale we come from – the upside or the downside.  Our thoughts and feelings will follow based on our location on the scale.

It is key to know that we are in charge of the attitude.  We may not be in control of the situation or event, but we are definitely in charge of how we look at it.  So, it is a choice.  No matter what the circumstance, we must stay in charge of how we see it to cultivate optimism.  Once we claim our ownership of attitude, we can begin to look at each life event from anywhere on the scale we choose.

Cultivating optimism involves looking for the lesson in a tough situation.  What purpose does it serve for us?  Sometimes the answer is a resounding “I don’t know”.  That’s ok.  The purpose is understood when it presents itself, and no sooner.  Trusting that the lesson will be revealed, learned, and applied allows us to view anything from a more positive, life-enriching standpoint.

So, take a look at the glass:  half-full or half-empty?  You decide.

Glass Half Empty

Half full or half empty?