Monthly Archives: November 2006

When In Doubt

Last Friday (Nov. 25th) I woke up in a really off mood. I literally was in doubt about everything going on my life. How strange. Where did that come from? I found it hard to get going in the morning.

I tried to get out of it using all my “techniques”, but to no avail. So, I decided to not do anything about my mood. No judgment. No techniques to make it better. I just decided to be with it in a somewhat detached way.

Rebekita had a post very similar to this one called Doubt and Hope. I liked her approach which was similar to mine. I ate well, took a walk, played guitar, surfed the net and absolutely let myself be. Gradually I felt better by the end of the day. And by the next morning, I was back to my normally very up self.

Sometimes when in doubt, it can be just as helpful to take no action and allow yourself to just “be.” Of course, you’ll need to be the judge of when that is appropriate for you.

Take care,

Michael

Late-night musings

Usually, late night is the worst time for me to think. I’m turning into a bad sleeper, an affliction that has probably characterized the men in my family since the first Calvinist preachers came calling around the villages of Sweden. I usually wake up a few times between 1:00am and 5:00am, and I make use of the time pondering the stupid thing I said at work that day, or all the money I’m wasting, or how I really should not have had dessert. You know, really helpful stuff.

(Side note: The comic Jim Gaffigan has a great line about getting up in the night when you think you hear a murderer downstairs but being too lazy to do actually get up and investigate. That sums up my nocturnal angst.)

This is all a prelude to noting that I woke up the other night and had a surprisingly comfortable thought: I can’t count on any outcomes in my life, but I can count on certain people to be there with me. I was thinking of my wife in particular, but then I began to think about how lucky I am to have a bunch of other people around who will care for me just about the same no matter how things turn out. Like all late-night musings, it didn’t strike me as a very profound realization the next morning, but I drifted back to sleep content, and I woke up in a better mood.

I’m under no illusion that I’m going to get back to sleeping through the night — days that ended sometime between signing my mortgage and bringing our first child home from the hospital. Still, it’s nice to know I can still surprise myself.

Doubt and Hope

Last week I talked a bit about thanksgiving. Yesterday I found my sentiment had changed. I hit a dark mood where I was filled with doubt about EVERYTHING, but mostly myself. I wanted to book the first plane ticket to anywhere that wasn’t here. My mind was full of questions: Was I good enough? was I clever enough? would my dreams really be fulfilled? can one person really change the world just by their actions? Why? why? Why? Despite all the signs that everything is going well – sometimes we hit a dark patch where we cannot see the light. This is a challenging time, as we can sometimes get caught up in the vortex of negativity, which is more damaging then if we just observe what is happening and knowing that it will pass.

Often when things seem bleak we try to find a rational explanation – which can lead to blaming those close to us or becoming dispondent which eventually spills into our private lives. The key is to remember that these ‘blips’ are there to make us stronger and more courageous. Sometimes we are tested on whether we really believe our dreams can come true. This is also to protect us. When we think about something, we are creating it on some level. In order to ensure that what becomes reality is our true desire, life brings us situations to test us.

These moments of negativity can also be very motivating. Instead of wallowing, do something. Meditate, take a walk in nature, start that thing you’ve been putting off. Use the energy to fuel you. Step by step the feeling will go and in its place is a greater feeling of hope… Behind every dark cloud the sun is shining….

If you have been feeling bleak and unmotivated this week – don’t worry too much about it. Trust in yourself and your dreams, remembering that everything is changing and very soon the sun will come out…..

Happy ThanksGiving

Happy Thanksgiving. I love the idea of a Thanks Giving. A day especially dedicated to giving thanks for all we have. So often life looks dark and gloomy, when everything seems to be going wrong. A small shift in perception can change even the darkest mood. We live in a universe that is governed by the natural laws of duality. Simply speaking, without dark we would not know light, without fear we would not know love, and without lack we would not know contentment. This is one of the most important natural laws and yet we fight so much with the reality of it. When things don’t go the way we want, according to our expectations, we feel the world is against us. When they go well we feel special and loved. Thanks Giving is a day when, whatever happens, we accept it all and give thanks. The key is to live everyday in thanksgiving!!!

Expectations

Expectations. We all have them. But do they really satisfy us? Do expectations create negative emotions more times than positive? Are they the root cause of some of our most disappointing times?

I think the answer is yes to all the above. Think about it. When we have expectations, it generally means we have given over control of our experience to someone or something else. For example, at the moment of an expectation with someone, we say to ourselves, “I expect a certain behavior from this person and when I get that behavior, I will be happier or feel better.” So, when the person doesn’t perform to your expectation, you get angry or upset or feel bad.

I’m really working on removing expectations from my daily life, because I don’t want to be dependent on external things to feel good. Don’t get me wrong. I’m finding this very difficult, but not impossible.

What I’m doing to eliminate expectations is figuring out what I want (i.e. a future reality) but keeping myself in a healthy and happy state in the present moment until I get there. I’m finding when I achieve this, I become much more relaxed (i.e. I don’t have any expectations to keep my anxiety level high).

I’m curious how you view expectations. Do you have similar feelings to what I have expressed here?

Have a great day,

Michael

Strive for the Uncomfortable

My good friend Kim gave me this quote last week:

“Strive for the uncomfortable.” – Kim Klaudt

I really liked this quote a lot. To me it embodies living on the edge, taking risks, consistently learning new things, moving forwards and generally being in a place of more excitement/fun.

The old me lived by the quote, “Strive for the comfortable.” It was a comfortable life. Nothing bad really happened. Nothing extraordinary either. But, now that I think about, when something negative did happen it was really a big deal. Of course that was my perspective, but the disruption to my well traveled “rut” was quite stressful and overwhelming at times.

The newer me has incorporated Kim’s quote into my daily living. Sometimes, I still have to overcome a habit of wanting to be comfortable, but I’m getting better and better at it. I am enjoying life much more. The excitement level is higher. More good things come my way and oddly enough, less negative things. Go figure. The old me was wrong about that.

So, ask yourself, “Are you comfortable or uncomfortable?” If you are comfortable, do anything to put yourself outside of your proverbial “comfort zone.” It might be something straightforward like giving a presentation or more complex like traveling to a 3rd world country by yourself. Whatever it is, just put yourself in uncomfortable situations on a regular basis and watch how fast you begin to grow.

Have a great day.

Michael

the rest of the story

Isn’t it Paul Harvey who, on his radio shows, gives a brief blurb, and then, following a commercial break, continues with “the rest of the story”?

Yesterday, I expressed my frustration in my blog and within 5 minutes of hitting the “save” button on my computer screen, the phone rang.  The appliance repair person was just “leaving Cheyenne and should be there within an hour”.  Three hours later, I was on my bike, riding along the Poudre River.  That’s all it took.  A simple declaration and the universe took care of it.  That’s my opinion anyway.

I carry, in my mind, a mantra about time – one I started saying soon after I started reading “Ask and it is Given”.  What I say to myself is “I have enough time in my day” or a version of this “I have enough time to do all I need to do in my day”.  I find that, truly, there is enough time in my day to accomplish the daily “list” of things I need to accomplish.  The technique Michael suggests http://cloud9000.typepad.com/michael/2006/11/not_enough_time.html is an excellent and interesting way to manage our to-do lists, as well.

Just stuck (well, a bit)

I’ve read and read again, Michael’s blog on time http://cloud9000.typepad.com/michael/2006/11/not_enough_time.html. Today I am struck by his question ” Do you feel pulled in a 100 different directions?”  because today, I feel stuck. Stuck because of waiting on a repair person to arrive and perform annual maintenance on my refrigerator and dishwasher and I’m back in that highly irritated state I was in earlier in the week.

It’s an illusion.  You see, I know this issue with time and feeling confined is all made up in my head. So I have this thought, develop this immense emotion tied to the thought of confinement and then start doing things to help resolve the emotion.  I do things like, call the company (three times).  I verify that I am required to have annual maintenance performed or my warranty will not be valid.  I get disconnected on the call where I’m asking if I have to be at home, in order to have the work done.  My third call, I find out the repair person is on his 4th call out of 9.  That doesn’t help me much.  I leave my phone number, asking for a return call with a little more specific time frame. 

I pace like a caged animal.  The truth is, I can’t tell you there is anywhere I HAVE to go.  I am defrosting the freezer and can not leave right now anyway.  I could go on a bike ride.  I could go on a hike.  I could go work out.  Yes, I feel so stuck.  Eventually, I’ll get out of the head space.  I’ll walk in the neighborhood, or meditate or continue the freezer defrosting.  It’s not that big of a deal, yet my response sure doesn’t say that. 

Things I am thankful for…

Things I am thankful for, today’s top 10 (and not necessarily in priority order):

1. Good friends (spouse included here)

2. Basset Babies

3. new adventures

4. days off work

5. raspberry colored sunrises

6. family members

7. mint scented shower gel

8. cat creatures

9. moments of silence

10. morning cup of tea

and what are you thankful for?

Flo

12 Things I'm Thankful For

12 things I’m thankful for (Why 12? Just seemed like a great number for a list.):

  1. My daughter
  2. My family
  3. Best friends
  4. Sunsets
  5. Coffee in the morning
  6. Dry sense of humor
  7. Laughter
  8. Dogs (Golden Retrievers and Beagles specifically)
  9. Music (especially classic rock & roll)
  10. Thai Food
  11. Books (way too many to list)
  12. The sound of ocean waves rolling into the shore

Hope you have a great day!

Michael