We all just want to be loved. I think of it often — when I feel I am acting out, when I see a colleague lose it, a friend struggle, or loved one unhappy. At the heart of everything love is the core of why we do so many things. We want it. We want it all the time. This idea from Mark Nepo in “The Book of Awakening” says it all for me:
“We waste so much energy trying to cover up who we are when beneath every attitude is the want to be loved, and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed and beneath every sadness is the fear that there will not be enough time.
When we hesitate in being direct, we unknowingly slip something on, some added layer of protection that keeps us from feeling the world, and often that thin covering is the beginning of a loneliness which, if not put down, diminishes our chances of joy.
It’s like wearing gloves every time we touch something, and then, forgetting we chose to put them on, we complain that nothing feels quite real. Our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold and the car handle feels wet and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being, soft and unrepeatable.”
I was thinking about it in relation to Thanksgiving Day. Think about how loved you are and share that with others this week. Even if you might not feel loved – you are. Someone said in a meeting recently “You get what you give.” I love that. It is so true. As we go into a day of gratitude and thanks, remember to take off your gloves and get rid of your layer of protection. Be the raw and real you.
Make sure the doorknob feels cold, and the car handle feels wet, and maybe you will get more kisses goodbye, or maybe you should give them more often.
I was a die-hard Girl Scout. Yes, I enjoyed the campouts, badge earning, and other activities — but my favorite time of year was selling Girl Scout cookies. I am extremely competitive, and each year I would challenge myself to do better than the prior year. No one put me up to it. My parents did not pressure me or push me to sell a specific number of boxes. They also did not reward me for my achievement. It was my own crazy self that worked my ass off to do more than I ever had.
One year, one of the prizes from the local community of Girl Scout troops was a 10-speed bike. I did not have a 10-speed and wanted one badly. I knew it would take a lot of babysitting and tips from my paper route to be able to purchase that bike, not to mention selling my parents on my spending my hard-earned money. The next best way to ensure I had that bike was to sell the number of boxes required to win the bike — and I did.
A different year there was a trip to an amusement park in Ohio. I had been a few times on school trips, and absolutely loved amusement parks, so of course it was on my list to win a trip. I had my goals in mind and I made sure I met them, however crazy I was to find ways to sell boxes. Since I lived on the edge of a University campus, I would go to fraternity houses, their student center, apartment complexes, and dorms, not to mention door-to-door in my entire neighborhood to sell as many boxes as possible. I learned a lot — specifically on how to cater my communication and language to the person on the other side of the door, or the one with cash in their hands. I learned how to warm up my audience, be cute when needed, or spout off the benefits of the different types of cookies – whatever I could do to make sure they walked away with boxes of cookies in their hands.
So when I found out that Girl Scout cookies have gone online, I had mixed feelings. Girl Scouts will now be able to take credit cards and transact business via an app online. They can have family and friends in other parts of the country place an order through their specific online webpage. Here is why I have mixed feelings — yes they learn business techniques for 2015, online sales, webpages, social media, and credit cards, but I feel a lot is lost. It feels much like what happens when parents sell for their kids at work, but their kids never have to do a thing. How is that good for the kid? My parents did not sell a box for me. I sold every single one.
With selling cookies now online, I fear that kids will no longer know how to make change, do math in their heads as buyers put them on the spot with questions, and my largest concern is that they have now taken the human side out of selling cookies. Maybe I am old school, but I feel that the learning experience has dwindled for these girls.
I am a suck-the-life-out-of-my-day kind of woman. From the moment I get up in the morning until the moment my head hits the pillow I am on the go. I really do not know how to slow down. Some might think that is a bad thing and say I am relentless while others might think of it as being tenacious. Regardless of what others think, we all get to decide each day how we are going to approach our day.
“Each day, we make choices that influence the character of our experiences, and our decisions determine whether our paths are rousing or tedious, breathtaking or tiresome.”
I want my life to be rousing and breathtaking. I want to learn, grow, and be challenged. If you are bored you are not trying hard enough. How is it even possible to be bored today? There are endless ways to entertain ourselves, even if they are tedious and brain numbing. Sure, I have my days where the wires in my brain do not connect for some reason and all I want to do is veg out on some bad game apps on my iPhone. Candy Crush anyone? That, however, is the exception rather than the norm.
So, what in life rouses you? What takes your breath away? New ideas? Compassion? Empathy? What makes you in awe of the world? Remember, we can choose to make decisions in our lives that invigorate, inspire, and challenge us to look at life in new ways. We can do that every day. It’s our choice.
It has been a good week. I have been surrounded by genuinely good people. It makes my heart flutter a bit to be reminded of the preciousness of life, of meeting new people, trying new things, and having a wonder and awe that sometimes when you go outside of your routine you are able to look at life differently.
I actually love my routine. I love the structure it provides in my life, what it allows me to do. However, we all need moments, days, and weeks in our life where we live outside the bubble we live in. Where we feel uncomfortable, do something different, and have moments where our awkwardness sheds light into a different or new view on the world. Maybe that is through a new experience or challenge, new food, or a new culture.
I am on my way back from Shanghai, China. I have been here for two weeks, and in a few hours I will be flying back home. Next week I will share some highlights from my trip. It is a fascinating city, different from Portland in so many ways. I will not tell you about that now, as I want to savor my trip and let it marinate a bit. I will tell you that I am inspired by the conversations I had this week, the different individuals I met, the new friends I made.
As I said I want to process it all, put together the story of my week, but all in all, I feel blessed to have been surrounded by good people. It makes me optimistic about the world, it inspires me, and brings a smile to my face. We like what is comfortable. So often we go to work and interact with the same people, get into our car, drive home, and do it all over again. Sure we interact at the grocery store, or Target, or with the gas station attendant, but how often do we get to meet new people and truly connect with them for an extended period of time?
Good people. We should always surround ourselves with good people.
I have been seeing a ton of folks embark on 100 Happy Days, and I think it is time I joined them. I mean why not right? I know the next few weeks/months are going to be crazy for me, and so why not add another thing to the mix? I have been wanting to begin taking more pictures, and if I do this challenge, my Instagram connections might hate me after I show them how boring the next 100 days will be and how much I work, but oh well.
Have you heard of 100 Happy Days? It is a challenge that is meant to get you to share a photo of what made you happy that day for the next 100 days. They have set it up so you can share your photos publicly or privately, but the main idea is that you focus on what made you happy that day. Here are results from the challenge that were listed on their website:
“Start noticing what makes them happy every day:
Be in a better mood every day;
Be in a better mood every day;
Start receiving more compliments from other people;
Realize how lucky they are to have the life they have;
Become more optimistic;
Fall in love during the challenge.”
Often at the end of the day I will write in a journal, as a way to decompress from the day. (Really it starts with my run when I get home from work, and the writing comes just before bed). I process, explore, and resolve my world through the words that come out of my fingertips. There are moments of gratitude, moments of frustration, and moments of aha. 100 Happy Days will take it one step further to require me to notice those happy moments as they happen, and not as I recollect them at the end of the day.