Surprise tactics

How often in life are you surprised? Once a month? Once a day? Do people easily shock you? There is a little part of each of us that loves to be shocked and in awe. Whether it is our husband that is capable of keeping a secret, our closest friend, or sister — not having a clue something is going to happen can sometimes be an amazing thing.

I have the hardest time keeping a secret from Chris (that should be a good thing). We talk about everything, and sometimes it is hard to keep my excitement inside or hidden from him. I am crazy transparent so he can probably pick up on the fact that I am hiding something. Take for example his 30th birthday. I wanted to surprise him and take him to San Francisco for a week. I could not keep it inside and I wanted to plan the trip with him and let him research a bit of what he might want to do. A week before we were to leave I decided to tell him — I could not resist! I wrapped a box of Rice-a-Roni (you know “A San Francisco treat.”) and my secret was finally out.

Somehow though Chris loves giving me the element of surprise and he enjoys the shock value it leaves. He can easily plan things and not tell me because he knows timing can be the perfect way to surprise someone, especially me. He is good. What if the many companies we are patrons of shocked and surprised us? Many companies do not even come close, so the smallest detail could result in a surprised and happy customer. How often are you surprised by a company? It is nice when it happens. It makes the experience more memorable.

I am going to hone my surprise tactics. Just you wait, Chris. Just you wait.

Soak it up.

Learning. I am a sponge. I learn from books, and listening intently to perspectives from other individuals. I stare. I become fascinated with the nuances of why people say the things they do, and act the way they act. Often we do not realize how we are perceived, and whether people are nurtured and inspired by our presence, or if they are repelled and drained by us. At times the story we tell, and how we express ourselves greatly dictate other’s perceptions of us.

Each of us have such a unique past and specific experiences that mold us into who we are and how we embark on our day. We constantly absorb the moments, attitudes, mood, and energy of those around us. As we consume those around us, we decide moment by moment how we are going to respond and react, or maybe do nothing at all. Some of us have a harder time letting go of any bad energy that exudes from those around us. Others make it their mission to get rid of any toxic energy that comes into their experience.

As a sponge, it can sometimes be hard to react quickly, because the absorption process happens so quickly. In that way, we have to protect ourselves from others, and sometimes ourselves. For those of us who are sponges, we have to be aware and take care of ourselves. Keeping tabs on the energy around you, and what drains you can be a step in determining if you are breathing in toxic energy. Learning how to be less absorbent in those moments is a protection in sanity, and what you want to breathe into your world.

Soak it all up, just watch what you let touch you.

I love me some good people

Ah good people. I love me some good people. Do you know when you have those times when you have the opportunity to be surrounded by someone (or sometimes more than one someone) who is just so present, so clear in their thinking, and listens so intently that you feel completely heard, inspired, and appreciative of what they bring into the world?

Last night I had one of those times. Maybe it happens often for you (yes I feel that way in the presence of Chris). It also nice when it is a good friend, who maybe you have not seen in years, and you feel the conversation flows so easily from one thing to the next. This friend lives on the other coast from me and I do not see him and his wife often, but I am always grateful for the time we get to spend with each other.

I also think it can sometimes be rare to have these individuals in your life. The ones who are so attentive and care so much for what is coming out of your mouth. It is a give and take, a flow of ideas, it is a collaboration of sorts. A banter between minds that are constantly evolving and thinking. Looking together at how to grow and be better individuals.

For those of you in my life reading this, who do this in my life and in the life of others, I thank you. I really do. These are the kinds of conversations I want to have. I want to grow and learn with you. I want to be challenged. I want to try my best to make each individual encounter in my life make things better for others. Regardless of how you receive me, (my directness and transparency might make you uncomfortable), I do it for the bigger picture. I do it for all the good people out there who are present.

Ah, I love me some good people.

Do you have it all?

Recently I read this Daily Om titled: “Having It Easy.” It made me think — how often have I thought about people in my life that from the outside look to have it easy? This idea made me think:

“Some people’s lives seem to magically fall into place. We can see the blessings they have received, the ease with which they have attained their desires, their unwavering confidence, and their wealth. But, because we can never see the story of their lives as a whole, it is important that we refrain from passing judgment or becoming envious.”

I wonder at times, do I judge others? Do I wish to have what they have? Maybe my perception of their world is actually completely off. I ultimately am not walking in their shoes so I have no idea what it takes to live their life. I have no idea how easy or hard things are for them. They might have been through hell and back. Loss, health challenges, relationship issues, the list can go on. From the outside they might look like they have it all, but maybe what we really see is the confidence they exude based on all the curve balls they have caught.

I think about it in my own life. Chris and I have worked very hard for what we have and we still continue to work hard. Sometimes I wonder what others think (even if it does not really matter what they think). Everything is relative. I can look at a friend and be in awe of their confidence, and yet they might feel not the slightest bit confident. I can think that someone is wealthy by looking at the car they drive, their house, or other possessions, and yet maybe they cannot afford it. Appearances are interesting. They lead to assumptions, and often assumptions are wrong.

This was a reminder to me to not judge others and rather think about the bigger picture. We all have everything we need. We have blessings, confidence, and wealth. Rather than judge others look at their story, and be grateful for your own unique story too.

Doing too much?

I had a conversation with a colleague yesterday about how we all end up doing so much — to the point of are we doing too much?

We probably are, and I am definitely one that falls into that camp. I like to help, I like to solve problems, I like to make things happen. Sometimes when you have your hands in too many pots, what suffers most is your own personal life. I mentioned how I love the weekends because somehow I feel like a person again. It is my time to recharge, refresh, and relook at the world in new ways. Yet, I wonder if I really should be doing that every day? My first inclination is to say: “Who has the time?” Partly that is true, and partly it is about making the time.

One of the ways that I do that is in the morning. I am not a morning person. I would rather drag out starting my day in more ways than one. I usually leave for work two hours after I get up in the morning. Unless of course I have an early meeting in which I either have to get up crazy early, or I have to give up my me time. I like to slowly get out of bed (you know, have the alarm go off a zillion times and hit snooze each time) rather than wake up by immediately taking a shower. Chris (the amazing husband that he is) makes our morning green smoothie while I shower, then I take my time drinking it while catching up on personal emails, articles, and maybe a dabbling of Facebook. That quiet time can be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, and I generally push it as long as I can. It is my “me” time.

Eventually he drops hints that it is time for me to get ready for work. I do, but often want to just finish that next thing or to hold those last few moments for me before I give myself over to a day of back-to-back meetings often without even time for lunch. When I get home, if I am not incredibly wiped out, my hope is that I get one more hour back to me for my run and to catch up on the book that I am reading. Then dinner, catch up on more work, and finally some blogging. Not much time in the day for much else.

Chris and I had the conversation over the weekend — if I was going to cut something out, what would it be? A tough decision. I want to do it all. I want to love it all. I want more hours in the day. Since that is not possible it often means less sleep, which is also not always the best answer.

What do you do when you are doing too much and you either do not want to edit or you do not know where to edit?