Monday, October 27, 2008

Get out of the country

So next time to design the best life, I'm getting out of the country sooner during a presidential election year. Every year the advertisements get worse. The phone calls are now on my cell phone. After having only a cell phone for the past five years it has finally caught up.

I can vote by mail, and then head out of dodge. That's the plan. So I'm heading to Australia two weeks from Wednesday. Yeah! Can you believe it? I'm really looking forward to disconnecting from my day-to-day existence to experience a new place. To get some time to reflect and to enjoy the sunshine. (It's the beginning of summer there). So I'll head there before winter officially starts in the mountains.

It is slowing down my changing of the guard of my closet. But this week I will do so--leaving out the summer stuff for the trip and packing up the rest of it. It is sort of like getting new stuff, because you sort of forget what you put away. I think I got rid of quite a few clothes, so it might be time to do some fall/winter shopping for a few essential items.

I've realized that we can get caught up in the negativity of our world (political ads, the economic situation). I guess we have to remember to laugh at ourselves and remember this too shall pass. Thanks, Mary Beth.

How's your election fatigue?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday Walk & The Four Agreements

Sometimes all it takes to revive is to take a walk on Tuesday afternoon. After a very gray day I noticed the sunshine had fought its way out so the office took our 'daily walk', which lately hasn't been happening each day. A walk, along with the beautiful scenery of the Eagle River and the fall leaves really reminds you to count your blessings.

Autumn gives me a sense of renewal. The reason is that I always think of the fall as a new beginning, a new school year, a chance to reflect on what matters to you. I'm re-reading the book, "The Four Agreements," which seems to be resonating with me even more than the first time I read it.

Basically, "The Four Agreements," are:
1. Be impeccable with your word -- What's interesting about this one is the explanation of what impeccable actually means, "without sin." The author Ruiz says: "a sin is anything that goes against your self. When you are impeccable, you take responsibility for your actions, but you do not judge or blame yourself."
2. Don't take anything personal -- The point is made that you chose what you believe. If you take something personal, you're buying into someone else's beliefs and opinions. "Whatever you think, whatever you feel, I know it is your problem and not my problem."
3. Don't make assumptions -- This one is so true. Ruiz says, "We make an assumption, we misunderstand, we take it personally, and we end up creating a whole big drama for nothing."
4. Always do your best -- This is one that I have always tried to follow, but this passage spoke volumes as well: "Under any circumstance, always do your best, no more and no less. But keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next. Everything is alive and changing all the time, so your best will sometimes be high quality, and other times it will not be as good...Your best will also change over time. As you build the habit of the four new agreements, your best will become better than it used to be."

I'm doing my best, one day at a time. What do these agreements say to you?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Building community

What does it take to build community? Last night our Valley Tastings: Food for Youth event truly brought people together. It reminded me of why I love this community. We had a better turnout than last year, even during a down economy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Embracing what you have

Embracing what you have instead of lamenting what you don't...I think times like these make this statement even more relevant. I am really working on expanding my gratitude and recognizing those who truly make the effort in relationships whether it's work or your personal life. I now realize that I have wasted some of my own time trying to make someone else change, when all that was needed was for me to change my attitude and potentially my experience of life.

The truth is we're just all starting to notice that times are tough, but sometimes the hard times create opportunities for growth and innovation. For example, my friend just realized instead of buying Krispy Cremes that she could make them with her daughter. Eating a doughnut turned into a mother and daughter moment, which translates into a new experience.

If you read books or surveys about happiness, it isn't the one with the most toys who is necessarily happy. It's the one with experiences, quality relationships, and a willingness to help others. So this holiday season, as we get closer I am going to focus on handmade gifts, helping other less fortunate than I, and on spending time with family and friends. Buying more stuff isn't going to make anyone happier, but quality time with loved ones just might.

How are you changing your life experiences? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Focus on essentials

It is interesting with the economic slowdown everyone starts talking about what's important. For example, suddenly everyone is taking notice of how they're spending their money. People I know are cutting back on extras and focusing on essentials.

Trying to understand what essentials are is the first step in this process. I am guilty of deciding that certain extras are "essential," when in all reality they just aren't. So I am going to track my spending. I started awhile back, but now I'm really going to decide was this an "extra" or an "essential". And chose more essentials with an occasional splurge.

In dieting one of the biggest success factors is how well you track what you eat. (I'm tracking my food choices, as well). For finances it is the same concept if you have to write the money spent down in your notebook suddenly you start to realize that maybe that money should go elsewhere toward paying off debt or an emergency fund.

To design your best life requires you to put in the time to track your spending, your food choices, and to find ways to enjoy life and all it has to offer without overeating or overspending. This weekend I went to my nephew Luke's birthday party. It was a blast! Then I spent time with my Grandma. It was a fairly inexpensive weekend, but the memories are priceless.

Tell me how you're finding positive ways to deal with the current economic situation. I would love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Happy Friday!

Do any of you ever have those weeks where you are sort of living for Friday? That was the case this week for me. It seemed like whatever would go wrong, did. I'm fairly certain that I've made it for now at least.

I'm thinking about how I experience life a bit. According to a Tibetan monk, happiness is achieved by changing how you experience life. I want to do that so that no matter the circumstances I can be grateful. Instead of focusing on the negative align with the positive.
And start where you are...honor that space.

May I have the courage to do this for the next week.
How do you experience life? Have a great weekend.