Lately I find myself repeating the mantra, "Life is cool... go with the flow... laugh more."
Telling myself I need to look for humor is hard for me to conceive. I've always lived life with a smile on my face and a Vesuvius-like chuckle ready to erupt.
My sunny disposition even caused a problem when as a 6th grade student teacher my students called me "smiley." They meant it affectionately. The principal insisted it was "unprofessional" -- the upshot, I had to request the kids not address me that way. Ridiculous!
So why do I find myself chanting... "everything's cool, keen and jake!"
I'm a Baby Boomer. I'm getting older. I've run out of notches on my belt. I've got a few more aches, pains, responsibilities and worries than I did 10 years ago.
Then there's the digital revolution. I refuse to be a dinosaur and it takes a lot of my brain cells to keep up with the amazing new forms of communication that continually emerge. It seems like social networking keeps me from socializing and networking! Heck, I'm a people lover. I like it out there!
Life's constantly evolving. Boomers keep alert... don't be left behind in the dust.
As you get older the tendency to perceive life through the lens of personal experiences becomes overpowering. One tends to develop a one dimensional self-view. Perceptions are often far from reality.
Let's shake things up a bit!
Sometimes outside input is informative and transformational as long as you take it for what it is. Someone else's view.
Here's a quick exercise from the Mind Acrobatics program. All you need is a pencil or pen, a piece of paper and your cell or smart phone.
- Call, don't text, four close friends and or family.
- Ask if they can spare two minutes.
- Explain you're doing a short mind game and you'd appreciate their help. Tell them it's an affirmation exercise.
If they agree, say the following very, very slowly:
- "I'm doing a quick positive word association. Without thinking about it, what's the first word that comes to mind when you think of me?"
- Allow them to pause for a few moments and after they come up with a word and thank them. Say you'll call or text later and explain what you are doing.
- Write down the word they used and move on to the next call. When you've contacted four people stop.
You'll probably find some surprising adjectives. It's very energizing and often inspiring.
If the exercise got you thinking,
now's a great time to
start reflecting on your life.
Start from the present or spend a few minutes savoring the "positives of the past." Affirmative memories make you feel good, remind yourself who you are and serve to inform and revitalize.
My past was interesting. I left teaching after a short tenure and accidentally entered business. I never planned it... poof, suddenly I was self-employed. Working as a freelance marketing consultant for 20 years had its share of stress, but I've always had a passion for savoring life. I didn't enter the rat race. I worked at my own pace. I rarely took anything too seriously. Still things happened.
There was the time early in my career when The Trump Taj Mahal casino declared a prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy while I was producing a 400,000+ piece mailing. It was a hairy experience and I grew more than a few grey ones, Luckily it worked out fine and I got paid in full and on on time.
And to reframe it even more positively, as a Boomer I no longer have those grey hairs... they along with most of my other hair have taken a trip south. Ain't life grand:)
I used to have an Afro and no glasses... but I'm pretty sure it's still the same me!
Every day we make conscious and unconscious choices about how we want to live our lives. It's important to regroup and reevaluate occasionally.
It's never too late for self-enlightenment and realignment.
Why not begin to develop a positive narrative for the year to come!
Professionally or personally each of us must point our compass in a direction and head out.
Exercise 2 (a variation of a common exercise)
Read this one first and then come back to it.
- Close your eyes
- Sit that way for a minute
- Let yourself relax
- Take 12 very slow, deep breaths
- In about 90 seconds open your eyes
- Imagine during this magical period one thing has changed in your life.
- What is it that has changed?
Do you like the change? If you do, you've just gotten in touch with one goal that you can set for yourself.
Congratulations, you're in motion. You may not be sure exactly where you are headed, but now you've got an idea.
Exploring your inner self you may find a variety of destinations appealing. That's great. You're still just using your imagination. Pick one. Set a plan, grab a compass and sail away. If the tailwind is in your favor and the stars are aligned you'll arrive at your destination.
If the wind comes to a standstill, the air hot and muggy, you can either wait it out or choose another destination grab the oars and start rowing! Use your mind and have fun.
Life isn't leading you by the nose... you're taking it by the reins.
Be mindful of all that feels right. Savor and enjoy the moment.
Here's a challenge! Take two weeks and ponder a bit. Try a few more exercises and see what works well for you. If you need an attitude adjustment... make it. If you'd like a few more exercises e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org and put "exercise" in the subject line. I'll send out a couple more Mind Acrobatics.
Plan a trip of the mind. Get those synapses firing. Pack a suitcase... a light one with no excess baggage and journey forth in a new direction. If the Mind Acrobatics you played were fun and informative... you know what to do.
Start making changes for real.
Go forth and wring every enjoyable moment out of life you can. Get water from a stone! It is possible... truly! Let your life transformation begin now!