You give but little when you give your possessions. It is when you give yourself that you truly give. – Kahlil Gibran
I donated some winter clothes last month. The Paralyzed Vet Organization came by the house and picked up a few bags. Easy breezy. I’m working on living my best life and had an insight, my best life involves helping others live their best life. I moved to Portland two years ago and work from home. I am embarrassed to admit that I rarely leave the house and when I do my husband usually drives. I go to the grocery store, Doctor’s office, Dentist and occasionally the mall. I still get turned around. When I think I’m heading to the mall, I drive by my Doctor’s office. Dang, it. That is happening less.
Here is my solution! I’m going to volunteer to pick up donations. I will get out of the house, learn the city and meet new people. Hopefully, they have a weekend shift. If not, I have always enjoyed volunteering at the food bank.
I’m off to google volunteer opportunities. Wishing everyone an amazing day sharing your gifts.
When we recall the past, we usually find that it is the simplest things– Not the great occasions– that in retrospect give off the greatest glow of happiness. – Bob Hope
I had a glow of happiness today. During a meeting, I volunteered to draft out a detailed plan design of a project we are starting. After I hung up I wondered if it were possible to get everything documented in two days. I opened up my “shell” template for the plan design and realized I had already started it when we passed one of the main stage-gates a few months back. Bonus, I was far along in the documentation. The sweet glow of happiness filled the room.
Don’t forget to count these moments when you reflect on the things you are grateful for. I’m with Bob. These simple things are gems!
I work from home and when I’ve been staring at the computer for a few hours not even blinking, Cooper will make his way to my desk and then pop his head up from under the desk and climb on my chair or he will give me the stare down if I’m on the couch with my laptop. In the past, I would push him back down with a firm “not now I’m busy.” Last week I was walking the trail and kept thinking of Cooper and his “do you see me now moments.” I had an insight. Cooper, was once again teaching me a valuable lesson on being present with our loved ones and giving them our full attention.
How often do you see couples at dinner staring at their phones or the TV behind their date’s head instead of paying attention to each other? I’m guilty. It has become acceptable behavior, the norm. Then dinner is served and the focus is on eating. The check is paid and dinner is over. How much of that dinner was spent with the full focus on each other or even tasting the food?
Following Cooper’s example, we need to single to each other to “see me now.” We turn off our phones or put them on vibrate during movies. It is the rule after all. Let’s continue that practice when we are spending time with each other. Put the phone in airplane mode, no beeps, rings or dings to pull your attention away. Can we not spare an hour from our device to give each other our undivided attention?
When I got back from my walk I decided the brown-eyed stare down was an opportunity to take a stretch break and to get a glass of water. Now, I grab my water, give Cooper a scratch, open the back door so he can do a quick run in the yard. Toss the ball for a few minutes and enjoy the view. Then I head back to my task. It’s done wonders for helping me keep my water goal each day, and a quick stretch break helps me take a deep breath and has a calming effect when I get back at it. And Cooper either entertains himself with a toy he found in the yard or gets fascinated by a squirrel and is happy and content. He didn’t need hours of my time, just a moment or two to feel like he mattered and to know that I remembered he was an important part of my life. Isn’t that worth a few moments?
Communication is not just about talking or waiting for a silent break so you can jump in and give your two cents. Being a good listener doesn’t always require a response. A knowing nod, or simple comment is often all that is needed. Often times people tend to follow with a similar story of what happened to them. Sometimes people just need to be heard, and coming back with a story of your own may feel like you are relating to them, but it can also feel like you are saying, “you think that is bad, check this out” and in the process dismissing or diminishing what they just shared.
My pups Max and Cooper are always listening. I swear I can be downstairs with the kitchen door closed and they can be upstairs, and they can hear me open the refrigerator or crack open a chip bag. I knew dogs have an excellent sense of smell and hearing, but I didn’t think it was on the level of the Six Million Dollar Man or the Bionic Woman.
Unlike Max and Cooper, I don’t have the greatest hearing and more times than not, I find myself asking someone to repeat themselves. A sense of hearing is my problem child. I have always known that there is more to hearing than taking in the sounds that pass through your ears. The second prong is being a good listener. Over the years I’ve heard people say things such as “lean in” so they know you are interested, “nod” so they know you are on the same page with them, or they ask you to make eye contact. There seemed to be a lot of facets to listening. I put most of those nuggets into practice, and I thought I was a good listener.
I swallowed hard one day when I heard someone make a comment that people listen with the intent of replying and not learning. If ever I was guilty of something, it was listening with the intent of answering. It wasn’t that I felt my response would be earth-shattering or enlightening; it was more that I wanted to mentally prepare my position on what was said so I wouldn’t look like a deer in the headlights if asked. I had an added habit of interrupting because I was afraid of losing my thought if we got too far into the conversation.
In a recent post, I pondered the age-old question “Why are we here,” I added a quote my teacher had placed on a chalkboard by Richard Bach. “Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you’re alive, it isn’t.”
I continue to make an effort to live my life to the fullest. To say yes to new experiences and not talk myself out of opportunities because of whatever lame excuse pops into my head. I work from home and find that I go days without leaving my house. Not the best step to living my life to the fullest.
I’m back in school working on my masters. Class started last week and I recognized my weekends would be filled with homework. Between working from home and doing homework, I was in danger of becoming a hermit. 🙂 Continue reading →
Your life will be much more memorable if you stop and smell the flowers, or watch a bird build its Nest.
When I lived in Texas, we couldn’t wait for the Bluebonnets. There was a short window of time to take pictures and enjoy their beauty before the heat hit and they withered back. Every year we would take the pups to a local field and snap away, just like all the other families in Texas. We tried to find a spot that wasn’t trampled on and tried not to add to the trampling. It wasn’t always easy. Looking around at the families snapping away at their little angels, I noticed no one was enjoying the flowers. Tensions were high and the kids were getting restless waiting for that perfect shot. Mothers were yelling at dads to take the shot from a kneeling angle or move over to that tree nearby. I’m sure the resulting shots were gorgeous, but what about the opportunity to stop and smell the flowers? Was that lost or was it just a quick scratch and sniff and on to the next errand on the list?