If something is worth doing…………

WordPress prompt: We all know how to do something well — write a post that teaches readers how to do something you know and/or love to do.

There is nothing I do better than procrastinate. I am the President of the Procrastinator’s Club. There are no other members as anyone who wants to join has put it off to another day.

Henry Ford is purported to have said that anything you put off for six months and is then forgotten was probably not worthy of doing in the first place. Or something like that. I would like to adhere to his philosophy which seems to be: If something is worth doing, it is worth procrastinating to see if it is really worth doing. If it is still around in six months then do it. This does not work with filing your income tax though—the government has a long memory.

A good procrastinator plays the system; a great procrastinator knows when their number is up and when not to procrastinate. I am a great procrastinator, and what keeps me in line is work deadlines—I generally do not fool with them as the powers that be are not usually forgiving.

So to be a great procrastinator, here is my advice: “Don’t procrastinate.” I have learned the hard way, despite Ford’s advice that there is very little joy in procrastinating—it causes anxiety, stress, and the reward is fleeting.

Published in: on January 25, 2014 at 7:32 pm  Comments (11)  
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Enjoy What Is

The present moment is filled with joy and happ...

The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. (Photo credit: symphony of love)

  My weekly newspaper column:   

The clock on the wall says it is past mid-October, but we are really only about four weeks into the fall season. October feels like fall to me — and even though the season really extends to December—this is the month that contains the golden days of fall. It seems so fleeting, giving way to the grey days of November and snow days of December. I want to hold it, grasp it and not let it go—but that is not how it works. Time marches on.

Thanksgiving is behind us; Halloween looms—we are caught mid-stage. I find myself wanting to enjoy every minute of October, yet already grieving its passing. Those who
advocate living in the present are probably happiest now. A quote I have taken to heart lately is attributed to that calmest of souls, Buddha: “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”

Am I the only one who finds it hard to live in the present? To be aware of only what is happening now—to be so immersed in it that the past no longer matters, and the future is an illusion? I think not, as there have been about a million (and this only a slight exaggeration) books and essays and talks written on the subject. So why is it so hard to live in the present?

Before I answer that, I want to preface it with my belief that the past is important as it is what informs us; and the future is essential because that is where we are going. But I need to enjoy the here and now so I Googled the question: “Why is it so hard to live in the present?” and came across the site ohsheglows.com by Angela. Angela prescribes the vegan life on her blog, but she also deals with her struggle with anxiety which she attributes to worrying about the future.

She found ten steps on her favourite blog, Zen Habits, which help her live in the present. The first one seems simple and it is, but so many of us (me included) do not take the time to do it deeply. It is breathe. Angela says that breathing fully and deeply does not come naturally to her, but in moments of anxiety when she remembers to take at least three deep breaths it helps calm her. Calm is good—if you are going to enjoy the present, doing it calmly (serenely, peacefully, tranquilly) sounds like a lovely way to exist.

Becoming a minimalist was also one of the ways she approached living in the present, but it is not a preferred method for me. I agree that unneeded possessions clutter our life, but material things can be a comfort, so I will eschew this suggestion for the time being.

Smile. I try to do this a lot. It makes me feel good when I am smiled at—so I try to do the same—and the very act of smiling makes you feel better. It is weird but it works.

Forgive the past. We have all been through crappy stuff—I have come to the realization that we all have challenges. Angela says that sometimes she catches herself thinking about something as if it is happening to her now because memories are so vivid and real, but by forgiving them, you can move past it and live in the present. This has got tobe the hardest of all ten in my opinion, but if achieved one of the best.

The other five that she found in her research to combat living in the past, or having anxiety about the future are: dream big, but work hard TODAY; do one thing at a time; do less by adding space between your tasks; use cleaning as meditation; and spread the love—do something nice for someone else. Cleaning as meditation gives me pause. But she says that “cleaning can be a form of mindfulness…and rituals are often calming.” So the next time I dust or vacuum or do the dishes I will think of them as rituals and not madly rush through them. (Yeah, right!)

My favourite go-to for quotes is the ever eloquent Unknown who has just the perfect piece of wisdom to end this column: “If you worry about what might be, and wonder might have been, you will ignore what IS.” So these last few days of my favourite month, I will enjoy what is.

Published in: on October 23, 2013 at 3:49 pm  Comments (27)  
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All Things In Vigour

Everything in Moderation

Everything in Moderation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How many times have we heard “All things in moderation” and thought that it is a philosophy we should acquire? Perhaps we have been sold a bill of goods. Moderation is not particularly colourful—within its barriers are the words restraint, control, reasonableness, temperance, balance, and fairness ~ and while none of these things are bad in themselves, they have a blandness about them—and hold us back.

Not that at times we should not be held back and show a little restraint, temper a situation, reach for fairness~ but where is the passion, the robustness, the joy? There seems to be little joy in moderation— illustrated quite vividly in one of its meanings from the Encarta Dictionary: “the limiting, controlling, or restricting of something so that it becomes or remains moderate.”

We cannot always be fiery and passionate, but I think that I would like to change the saying “All things in moderation” to “All things in vigour”. We should not grasp at mediocrity, settle for compromise; there is one life and one life only and we should hold on to it with all our strength.

Approaching life with verve and drive will force moderation back into the shadows where it should be taken out on occasion, looked at, considered, then cast off. I was inspired to write about moderation by Dr Bill who had the following quote on his blog today. I separated each sentence of the quote to make it more important, to give it more punch:

“Moderation?

It’s mediocrity, fear, and confusion in disguise.

It’s the devil’s dilemma.

It’s neither doing nor not doing.

It’s the wobbling compromise that makes no one happy.

Moderation is for the bland, the apologetic, for the fence-sitters of the world afraid to take a stand.

It’s for those afraid to laugh or cry, for those afraid to live or die.

Moderation…is lukewarm tea, the devil’s own brew.”

     ~  Dan Millman from Way of the Peaceful Warrior

 

There is a time and a place for moderation I suppose, but not in my life. I appear to be moderate but it is merely a guise. What about you?

In Between

Tea Time

Tea Time (Photo credit: Maia C)

This is my newspaper column for the week:

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lie our growth and our freedom.” ~ Victor Frankl

It is in that space, the one between something happening to us and taking action that we live and breathe and make choices. And it is those choices that form our lives. Yes, I am getting a bit philosophical here, or pseudo-philosophical as the only letters behind my name declare me as someone who is supposed to have read all of Shakespeare’s plays (hard to take part in a comparative studies class of Shakespeare if you have not read all of his works ~ I learned this the hard way). I am also supposed to be able to take a theory and turn it into something practical–and, oh yeah, back in the day, I could dolly a mean television camera.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. While we are trying to make the hard choices, the right choices, and live our life the best way we know how—a little respite from all the serious stuff is sorely needed. Today, while reading some posts from my blog friends (no they are not my imaginary friends—there are living breathing people I have just not met in person) I came across a list of “Ten Things That Might Improve Your Day” by a Scottish woman {tearoomdelights} who writes primarily about tea, but also about life.  Curious? Well, I am going to satisfy that curiosity right now. She had an explanatory paragraph to elucidate each of her thoughts, but I will take her headings and provide you with a few of my own scattered notions.

Ten Things That Might Improve Your Day:

1. a nice hot beverage—of course her first choice was tea, but I am a fan of hot chocolate when I need my day improved.

2. a fresh pair of socks – now I have to share a few of her thoughts on this one as I thought they were first, unusual; and second, ingenious. She says that putting on a new pair of socks halfway through the day will refresh you, and if you do not have another pair of clean socks, then take off the ones you are wearing, shake them out, and put them back on.

3. a small nap – we have all read that successful people take 20 minute naps in the afternoon. Sounds like a good excuse to me.

 4. a wee read – told you she was Scottish. This one appealed to me in particular. A wee read can take you out of this world into another one for a few moments—a good way to improve you day.

5. a bit of fresh air – we all know this one, but how many of us embark on a little journey outside for some bird song and a little breeze?

6. a hot water bottle – perhaps this can be used in Scotland year round—but this would be the ticket here for three-quarters of the year. Soothing.

7. a bit of comedy – there is a reason I am addicted to some sitcoms. Some are clever, slice of life, and need I say it—funny.

8. a moment of peace—this one is self-explanatory and oh so necessary.

9. a thoughtful gesture – think of someone besides yourself and make them happy; improve their day (okay this was really her thought—but it needed no tweaking).

And finally, one I find a little abstract but her reasoning behind it is solid:

10. A blob of sun cream or to Canadianize it: sunscreen. She says that putting on sun cream makes her feel like she is on vacation even when she is not. Can’t argue with that for improving my state of mind.

My number 11 would be pumpkins—I just love them—they seem friendly, and make me happy. I do not know why. They just do. I bought a magazine yesterday that had pumpkins and squash and all manner of autumn things on the cover—taking me on a trip to my favourite season while we are still enmeshed in summer. I am not wishing the summer away though—there are still lots of things to enjoy in the month of August, like the harvest of ripe tomatoes in our little backyard garden plot; being able to just leave the house without sweaters and hats and coats and boots and mittens; outdoor picnics; and walking barefoot in the sand ~ just to name a few. Happy August—take a few minutes to enjoy it!

What would your number 11 be?

Deep Thought Sunday

Hemlock

Hemlock (Photo credit: John Tann)

 

As I seem incapable of deep thoughts, or at the moment any kind of coherent thoughts, I thought I might call on Socrates to keep my place in the blog post line today. Since wisdom seemed to be his middle name, here are a few of the wise guy’s words:

 

“The only good is knowledge and the only evil  is ignorance.”

 

You would have thought he would have seen that hemlock thing coming.

 

 

 

Published in: on June 30, 2013 at 4:24 pm  Comments (22)  
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Poetry Day Two for Me; Day Three for Those Who Started on Time ~ OR ~ Procrastination: My Friend

Inspirational Quotes Procrastination Don Marquis

Don Marquis (Photo credit: hot4sunny)

Warning: This is not a work that has deep meaning—it treats its subject matter with barely a nod to metaphor, simile, or some of those other devices you are supposed to employ if you are a true poet.  And I am not sure why I made Procrastination male and not female—this “poem of sorts”  just chose its own gender.

Yes, I am an apologist for my work. I am a writer–if we did not apologize for our work then we would have to take criticism to heart. It is a defense mechanism and without it, most writers would be weaponless in a world without heart (not really–I just wanted to use a bunch of Ws). Without further ado, or apology (well there may be one more)–my poem du jour:

Procrastination: My Friend

I have fought with procrastination

All my life

I have fought him with every fibre of my being

I am tired of fighting

And have decided to make him my best friend.

At times he has been the bane of my existence

A nuisance, a blight, a curse, and a pest

Saying: “I do my best work at the last minute”

Or: “You cannot rush perfection”

And even: “We are not here for a long time; we are here for a good time”.

I have taken his advice on too many occasions

To my detriment for sure

But I am seeing that Procrastination is not all bad

He may taunt me, cause my hair to turn grey, and give me hives

But many times when I procrastinate

The problem goes away on its own

Or I come up with a better way to deal with it

And I am saved wasted time and effort.

I know that procrastination and I will always do battle

But I am at peace now, and our battles will be short

as he whispers in my ear: “We are not here for a long time; we are here for a good time.”

A timeless if seemingly frivolous message

That  makes traversing this “vale of tears”  a “walk in the park”.

Again apologies for the clichés—but they just seemed to work. And that is what a cliché is all about when you write a poem in less than half an hour.

Can procrastination be bliss, once you have come to terms with it.  Or is it always a blight?

Published in: on April 3, 2013 at 1:34 pm  Comments (31)  
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Dashing Through Life in a One Horse Open Sleigh…………..

English: Sloes on a blackthorn hedge, near Tha...

The hedge along the Phoenix Trail had a profusion of fruit, nuts and berries at the end of August.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What are you doing with your dash? I presume since you are reading this, you do not yet have a dash. Or, to be more precise, you do have a dash, but hopefully it is a dangling dash. The dash I speak of is that little straight line between the year you were born and the year you die. For instance, my dash I hope will be 1953 – 2073~yes I am planning on living 120 years. (That is why I can call myself middle-aged.) Apparently living to 120 is not all that far-fetched as long as I eat a lot of live culture yogurt and nuts and berries and keep to my walking routine (which is trying to keep up with my walking partner who walks very fast….)

Anyway, back to the dash. In 1996 a woman by the name of Linda Ellis wrote a poem called “The Dash” and it was picked up by a lot of funeral homes. Now there is quite a tight copyright on the poem as I guess she was none too happy that a lot of people were using her words without accreditation/payment. (Something I understand.) So I will not use her poem here except a short excerpt where she asks “would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent YOUR dash….?”

Dash is of course her euphemism for life. I have decided that the best way to use my dash is to try and follow the four agreements set out by Don Miguel Ruiz in his book of the same name:

1. Be impeccable with your word.

2. Don’t take anything personally.

3. Don’t make assumptions.

4. Always do your best.

These are not easy ways to spend your life, but I cannot think of a better way to try and find my bliss than by at least trying to keep these agreements.

Do you think the four agreements are a way to find bliss?

The Bliss of Stillness

Stillness n' Peace (View in full size)

Stillness n’ Peace Photo credit: . Dileepan

“Stillness has been an acquired taste.” ~ Sheila from Grace and Space

Time is a precious commodity and is the subject of Sheila’s post today. She says she is a doer, a list maker, someone who likes to accomplish things—and that stillness has been something she has had to learn to consciously appreciate.

I have always loved stillness—I need it to replenish my stores. In stillness my imagination is given free rein. Yesterday I complained that I had “nothing” to say, but in response many of you advised me to enjoy it and use it, and once I took in this wisdom I had peace.

Do you find bliss in stillness, or is it a hard thing for you to achieve?

Published in: on March 5, 2013 at 11:11 am  Comments (50)  
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Bliss is Forgetting Perfection and Embracing Our Messes

Spirit Head

Spirit Head (Photo credit: eskimo_jo)

My response to a blog I read this morning:

Okay – in all of life’s mess, this was a perfect post that I read at a perfect time written by one of my perfect blog friends. Thank you for making the choice to share this–oh, how I needed to read what you wrote this morning. Life is a series of messes and if I would just give in to that I would be so much happier, so much more adventurous, so much less afraid–I will try to embrace this–and as I have before and I am sure I will do again–I will use this on my own blog as it is so perfect–but give you the kudos for discovering it and writing about it so eloquently.

Lake Superior

Lake Superior (Photo credit: kjell)

The blog I refer to is written by Kathy from Lake Superior Spirit, and titled  “Let’s mess up a little today, shall we?”  She used these words in her post from her latest favourite spiritual teacher, Jeff Foster:

Forget “perfection”. 

Forget trying to get it “right” all of the time. 

Here’s to doing your best, falling flat on your face, getting up again, falling down again, fucking up totally, failing beyond belief, being laughed at, ridiculed, mocked, even crucified, and losing what you thought was yours. And here’s to embracing the mess of it all, dying to the dream and waking to the reality of it, loving the perfect imperfection of it, opening your heart wide to all of it, continuing to live your truth despite everything, fearlessly meeting each sacred moment…

You cannot get it “right”, and that’s why you cannot get it “wrong”…

So many times I find that other bloggers define for me what is important in my life. They are brave souls, unafraid of putting themselves out there in order to share with the rest of us. Kathy is one such brave blogger, who captures so much of life on her blog in words that are at once poetic and approachable.

I am going to forget perfection, because in trying to attain it, I am afraid of falling flat on my face (though this has happened many many times due to my bountiful gracefulness); I realize I am going to mess up totally; I am going to chance being laughed at, ridiculed, mocked and even crucified, because really, where has the safe path led me?

I want to open my heart wide, continue to live my truth (and in living my truth, have the gumption to state it) and fearlessly meet each sacred moment—because if I don’t, will I really have lived?

Thank you Kathy for your post. Go and read her—she expressed this so much better than I (or is it me–I often get this confused—but hey, I am forgetting perfection, remember?)

Bliss is to me forgetting perfection: how about you?

Bliss is Equal Parts Joy and Woe

A page from scan of book containing a series o...

Songs of Innocence and Experience by poet and painter, William Blake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I read many blogs and believe that I am the wiser for it. The other day I ran across a blog called Joy and Woe, and found the explanation for the title intriguing. Jeni  of Joy and Woe is a fellow Canadian, and she said she chose the title for her blog from William Blake’s poem “Augeries of Innocence.” Here is an excerpt from the poem that includes her blog’s moniker:

All is right it should be so:
Man was made for Joy and Woe;
And when this we rightly know
Thro’ the World we safely go.

I love the simple yet sage wisdom in those words. Once we accept that we are destined for both joy and woe, and that in equal parts they are what make the world go round, then we can make our peace with the ways of life.

Is life fair? A tiresome question. Sometimes it is too fair, sometimes not fair enough—admit it, you have been on both ends of the spectrum of fairness. Life is not objective, impartial, non-discriminatory or fair. But sometimes it is.

Joy and Woe: they sum up life quite nicely. Coming to an understanding of these two elements gives me some bliss.

Do you find that life is made up of joy and woe—would we know bliss if we did not have a little woe in order to measure joy?

Published in: on February 24, 2013 at 11:11 am  Comments (59)  
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