Category Archives: Things to Ponder

Evolution or revolution

Evolution or revolution. I have been pondering the difference between the two words. This idea came up in a book I was listening to by Gabrielle Bernstein a few weeks ago and again in a book by Brene Brown this past week. Change happens – does it happen by evolution or revolution? Do you have a preference? Is one change better for one type of thing and worse for another? Can you reach the same end point with either?

Evolution seems to be slow and built on small incremental steps. The overall change can be massive when you step back and look at each tiny piece that built into it. But the timeline is slow and long.  Drip, drip, drip. Grand Canyon.

Revolution seems to be more on the fast and furious side. Big changes, ignited by more immediate need or emotion. The timeline may be shorter. Waterfall or deluge. Flooding.

I think the differences may be illustrated by how a person takes off a band aid. There is the evolutionary method – slow, methodical, peeling back the sticky bandage millimeter by millimeter, possibly less pain or possibly prolonged pain, I am not sure. There is the revolutionary method – quick, rapid yanking off of the bandage, any errant hairs are gone in the process, the pain is acute and possibly intense but then done, the change is made, move on.

Evolution

If you had a choice which would you pick? If I were my own best friend, and I were being honest with myself, I would say most of the time, I would choose evolutionary change, slow methodical, thought-out with tiny adjustments over a long time. But then, occasionally, I feel a bit revolutionary and I want to run out and dye my hair hot pink or move to Colorado or leave my career in healthcare or start a lavendar farm. I think the important thing is knowing when to apply which type of change – I will leave most of this to evolutionary change, but I might show up for work with hot pink hair tomorrow.

Aspiring or Deluding?

Aspirational

I am reaching for the stars. My goal is big and it is out there, waaaay out of reach right now, but I can see it. I can visualize it. I am not quite sure what the path will be to get there. But there is the goal… the big, shiny, beautiful, quiet, loud, soft, bright, pink, gold, blue, fuzzy, clear goal. My dream. My star.

Is reaching for something that is very very different and so very very far away aspiring? Am I dreaming big and daring big? Or is this reach, this stretch, this yearning, just a little too far away… is this delusion to think I will get there? If I get the big carrot at the end of the stick, well then the reach was aspirational, right? But if I fall flat on my face and don’t come anywhere close was it then delusion?

And then what if… what if I get back up? What if I dust myself off and wipe off the sweat and build a better way to reach and keep going? Sounds more like aspiring to me. So if I were my own best friend I would tell myself to keep reaching for the stars and to keep trying and to keep going. If you get knocked down it will hurt. If you fall on your face it will not feel good. But get back up and keep reaching. Learn something and reach out again. Big dreams are just that, big dreams. Not delusions, but aspirations. Keep reaching.

Opportunity.

Do you have to take every opportunity that comes your way? What if the opportunity is what most people would think you should do next? What if the opportunity is a step-up in status? What if the opportunity is a logical next step on your career path? What if the opportunity pays more? What if you never asked for the opportunity?

What if the opportunity makes your stomach hurt? What if the opportunity is exactly the opposite of what your heart wants you to do? What if the opportunity is something you have never wanted to do? What if there are 8 things in the pro-column and only 1 thing in the con-column?

Do you take the opportunity? Do you try it out? Do you say no? Do you say yes? Do you follow convention and take the next logical step? Do you follow your heart?

Opportunity

If I were my own best friend I would say follow my heart. But here’s the thing, I have been writing this blog for over 8 years now, and you would think, based on the title of this blog, and the overwhelming content of this blog, to follow your heart and live your best life, that this would be easy. But it is not. Convention is strong. Expectation is strong. And the only thing in the con-column is my heart. So what do you do?

Queen of Busy-ness.

Confession time. I am addicted to being busy. I have lists of things to do. I have lists of lists. There are lists that refer to other lists so if I finish the first list I can start the secondary, tertiary, and quartenary lists. I try to do as many “things” as I can every. single. day. And at the end of most days I wonder what I did all day. Busy-ness. That is all it is. And at the end of the day I have rarely prioritized the most important things. But man, oh man, have I filled the time. Busy.

And yes, there are some things that really do need to happen, like cooking for the family and some basic house cleaning and some paperwork for the kids’ schools or taxes or paying bills. But let’s be honest (real confession time now), the busy stuff can fill a day or a week or months and at the end of the year I have not done the things I set out to do (the things I really want to do) because “I was too busy.” But really, what I did, was I filled the time with busy tasks to avoid the hard work.

Busy-ness is a great avoidance technique.

I do not have to take a risk and write that book I want to write if I’m busy weeding outside. I might be too busy cleaning bathrooms to set up the new blog I have been dreaming about. Instead of sketching out a series of pictures too print I am busy sorting the kids’ clothes. It’s definitely not risky to get busy cleaning the garage, but it is scary to talk with printers and figure out how to publish a book.

So there it is, busy-ness, lists and lists of to-dos, never-ending tasks around the house or for life in general – they are all excellent for avoiding the work I keep talking about and dreaming about, but not doing. Because, busy-ness is not risky or scary. No one is going to laugh at me for washing windows. No one is going to write a bad review of how I do laundry. No one is going to buy my organized notebook for recipes. But all of that stuff sure keeps me busy. And at the end of the day, I am no further along.

Busy-ness

So, if I were my own best friend I would tell myself to start prioritizing the things I really really want to do. Take the scary steps forward and take a few huge steps back from the lists and the busy-ness. Make room for the important things. Push busy-ness on the back burner and do the things you really want to do.

If you have been “too busy” like me I encourage you to take a step back from busy and make the time for the things you want in life.

A helping hand.

Title: A Helping Hand

Author: this blog

Characters : Lion and person

Helping Hand

Lion: ROOOOARRR ROWR Ro-Ro-ROAR (I am really really not having a great time and I could use some help, like a hand, a helping hand. I am struggling.) ROAR.

Person: Hey lion. I can help. What do you need? Can I lend a hand? That is unfortunate you are struggling.

Lion: Roar. (That would be great. I could sure use some help. Come in.)

Person: (walks into lion’s den) So lion, what’s going on? What can I do?

Lion: Roooo-ar (Well, I could really use a hand)

Person: OK….. Owwwwwwch.

Lion: Nom-nom-nom (hand tastes good)

OK, I know. Sooo wrong. Sooo very wrong. But it’s been in my head for a couple weeks now and I finally decided to go for it and post it. But I know, soooo wrong.

Now if I were my own best friend I would say there a few lessons to be learned here from lion and person –

  • Lion might be kind of a jerk (or maybe lion’s not ready for help).
  • Lion asks for help but maybe lion really just wanted to take advantage of some person’s good nature and eat their hand (jerk).
  • Or, lion asked for help but did not really want help or was not ready for help. Sometimes asking for help and then receiving it is a big scary step. Sometimes you might want to be a lion out on the plains doing your own lion-thing and not need anyone else for anything else. Freedom and dependence on no one. But here is the thing about being human – we need other people. We need community.
  • Sometimes we need help.
  • Person might not be very bright (or very committed to helping).
  • Don’t offer a hand unless you are willing to truly give a hand (to a lion).
  • Think about what you are offering and make sure you are not being taken advantage of (by a lion or a jerk).
  • But also do not offer to help someone unless you really mean it – usually offering help does not mean literally giving your hand but sometimes it means giving up time or money or both and you have to be ready for that.
  • Sometimes we need to offer help. 

So basically it comes down to this. If you need help, ask for it, and be ready to accept help if someone offers up. And if you answer the call for help be ready to step up and provide. Don’t be a jerk and take advantage of people who are trying to help. Be honest. Be present. Be human. Be helpful.

Low touch. High touch.

Low touch. High touch.

I was at a public park last week for an event and I had to use the bathroom. I have become so accustomed to automatic flushing toilets, sinks that turn on with the wave of a hand, and towel dispensers that respond to movement that I was caught off guard when I had to touch the toilet to flush, turn on water with a handle, and pull the towel out of the dispenser. I actually had to touch something, many things, to take care of business as it were. Weird, right? It’s not as if I have any of those automatic gadgets at home – everything at home is self-serve. Yet in public places it has become much less common to actually touch anything.

This got me thinking about other ways in which we “touch” less. Like the “virtual hug” I might send a friend via text. Or the “high five” I might offer over the phone to a colleague. Or the email that congratulates someone for a big life event with the words “congratulations (hug)”. No touch. Low touch.

Now what about the actual hug I offer my neighbor when she tells me her kitchen sink backed up all over her kitchen and she has a pile of dishes three feet high? Or the high five I give an acquaintance when he mentions he is buying his first home? How about holding a child’s hand when he is scared? High touch.

HighTouch

So I know a public bathroom is an odd way to try to illustrate this. (And I know that not touching the flushing mechanism on toilets or handles on sinks or towel dispensers ultimately helps reduce the spread of germs.) But I also know that there are a lot of other ways we are losing touch, not just in bathrooms. We are losing the hugs and the high fives and the physical connection with friends, loved ones and neighbors. And while I think it is great to have low touch bathroom environments I think it is equally important to have high touch relationships with people in our lives.

So if I were my own best friend I would remind myself to reach out to those I care about and offer hugs, hands, and connection. Remember that touch is one of the senses and it should not be used for touch screen devices only. It should be used for fuzzy blankets and puppies and holding hands of loved ones. Please go hug someone you love!

Treading water or swimming?

Treading water or swimming? What’s the difference? They are both in the water. You are putting effort into both. You are expending energy. You are getting wet. You are using a combination of small movements to do something.

But with one, treading water, you are expending energy to stay in the same place and keep your head above water. With the other, swimming, you are expending energy to move and you are going from one place to another.

TreadWater

Which one are you doing in your life right now? Are you treading water or swimming? One is not necessarily better than the other – they are just different motions with different end results.

If I were my own best friend I would step back and take a look at where I am at in my life (this could be with any area or aspect) and decide if I am treading or swimming. Am I staying still and stable or am I moving towards something (or away from something)? And if I am treading water, but I want to be swimming, what do I need to do to shift my position and start moving through the water that is life?