Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Thoughts

It has been an interesting couple of months since I have been out on my own. In that time I have gotten to know some great people, learned to take direction from myself (my boss is so tough!), and overcome some long-standing fears. I have also encountered some challenges with my house that were not entirely planned for. For those of you who don't know, or who have never been to my home, it is a small bungalow that was built in 1950...which makes it 60 years old. And, unfortunately, it has chosen now to show its age. The latest is that I may have to get my kitchen drain pipes replaced. My water purifier started to leak onto my counter...but hey, I turned it off and that solved the problem. I just drink bottled water for now. However, now my dishwasher, which uses the same drain, is leaking and I have a feeling that my house is exerting its authority and saying "repair me". I'm almost scared to think of the cost, but plumber's bills are a subject for another blog!

So you are probably asking yourself, "Is she just ranting or is there a point to all this?" Well, there is a point. I've related my tales of woe to several of my friends and some of them have asked me an interesting question - What are you thinking that is bringing this to you? At first I took great exception to this question...how dare they say that I was wishing bad things to happen! But, the more I thought about it, the more it began to make sense. I truly believe that what you are thinking today will be your future. In other words, the thoughts that you send out into the universe will come back to you. So, if I am thinking about plumbing problems, that is what will happen. It is like telling the universe, "this is what I want" and it does its best to deliver! It also works is you think about things that you don't want. If you are thinking them, they will come back to you. I remember my grandmother telling me, "Be careful for what you ask for. You just may get it!" Hate to admit it but she was right!

So my challenge for you this week is to take a close look at what you are asking for, both verbally and in your head. Are you asking for what you want or what you want to happen, or are you focusing on what you DON'T want? If it is what you don't want, become clear on what you want and ask for it. Then sit back and see what happens.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Walk Around the Block

Since it was a bit cooler this morning I decided to take my daily walk around the block a bit earlier than usual. I also made a conscious decision to leave my MP3 player behind. Since there were things I wanted to think about, my walk seemed the best time to do it. However, I honestly didn't get much time to think! Who knew that a morning walk could be so busy! During it I:

* Met dogs and their walkers I have never met before. What a nice bunch of people!
* Discovered that walking under trees after a rain can be risky business...unless you need a shower!
* Also discovered that the sunlight looks really beautiful when it shines through the showers coming off the trees
* Saw a robin chase a squirrel across the road and up a tree. Who knew robins could be so aggressive? It was my laugh for the morning!
* Luxuriated on the feeling of the sun warming my arms. I have missed this the last few days as I cocooned inside

My morning walk made me realize all the things that I've been missing the last few weeks as I've been hurrying from one thing to another. It also made me grateful just to be alive on such a beautiful day.

My challenge for you is to get out and enjoy today. Leave your MP3 player at home and go walk around your neighbourhood. Discover, like I did, what makes it unique and special.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Laughter IS the Best Medicine

I've been having fun the last couple of weeks watching the M*A*S*H TV series on DVD. I had forgotten how funny the episodes could be and the acting is first rate. I've really been enjoying it. One episode in particular, though, stuck with me. In this episode, the army psychiatrist, Sydney Friedman, was visiting the 4077th for a "vacation". The entire piece centred around a letter he was writing to his friend, Sigmund Freud, about the people at the medical unit. One comment he made really struck a cord with me. He commented that the staff at the 4077th dealt with the traumas of what was everyday life for them - wounded soldiers, blood, death, and boredom - by laughing. Through it all, they never lost their sense of humour or their sense of fun. Gurney races, practical jokes, funny comments...it was their way of laughing in the face of crisis.

I don't know about you but I find that when I am stressed, one of the first things to go is my sense of humour (I only wish it was my appetite!) It is hard to laugh when you are worried. I also spent nine years working in a cancer centre, and it was always interesting to see the different reactions of the patients when there was laughter echoing through the building. Some people thought it was a sign of disrespect that people could laugh or joke when people were so ill. Others joined right in. Studies have shown that laughter is a wonderful way to alleviate stress. It gives your internal organs a massage and encourages positive emotions and thoughts...and hope. It is hard to worry when you are laughing!

So take time to have a good laugh today. Watch a funny movie. Get together with friends. Read the comics in the newspaper. Or do like I have been doing and go out to rent M*A*S*H on DVD...only don't rent season 10...I haven't seen that one yet!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Thinking of Solutions Instead of Problems

Every week I receive an email newsletter from Cheryl Richardson. For those of you who have watched the Oprah show, Cheryl is a coach who has appeared on the show many times over the past few years. This week's newsletter talked about focusing on solutions instead of problems and it really rang a bell for me.

This past weekend I decided it was time to clean out my storeroom in the basement. Most of my friends who have been in my home will say that my entire basement is a storeroom and, right now, they would be right...but that is the topic for another blog! Anyway, I took everything out of the room and lifted the foam tiles that covered the floor and what did I find but mould. This is not a new phenomenon in my house but a recurring problem and I shouldn't have been surprised. But I'm an eternal optimist and was hoping that all I would find would be nice, clean concrete! After washing the floor with bleach and water and setting a fan in the room to promote drying, I then spent the next few hours thinking "More mould". After dinner, I got tired of being in a bad mood and decided to hit the internet to see if there was anything I can do short of blowing my house up (not the best solution!) I found several ideas and the names of several companies that can help me get rid of any more mould that I find. I immediately felt my mood lifting and I started to have hope that the future will look better, mould-wise.

As Cheryl points out in her newsletter, "focusing on the problem, over and over again, just contributes to the energy going in that direction - toward the problem." However, if you focus on solutions to the problem, you are replacing negative thought with positive thought which leads to:

*Having more energy to do well in the world
*Thinking better thoughts
*Increasing our level of personal power
*Generating smart ideas
*Beginning to see good everywhere
*Feeling hopeful and empowered

Do you have a problem that you have been spending too much time focusing on? Try focusing on finding solutions to the problem and see what happens. It will lead to your having a much happier day!

*Cheryl Richardson't newsletter can be viewed by going to:
http://campaign.constantcontact.com/render?v=0010iyGwPSeYAF_oGBd55dh5naEn5gD9T2YiczmGqQsiu9TxizmfF4kQBt6InUxScM8wxJK_XSfkVx9v6B6i5uSoyPG5aixVGMquk9TaOtWaBgtKHv7DWIlVg%3D%3D

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Follow Your Heart

A short time ago I was faced with a very big decision - whether to stay in the job I had been in for nine years or whether to leave it and start my own business. I'm normally very conservative as far as risk-taking goes, especially when it comes to financial matters. But I was in a situation where I was under a lot of stress and I was yearning for a new challenge. It was almost like having World War II going on in my mind...what to do?? One evening, after a long and very trying day at work, I called on of my friends to discuss the whole situation yet again (I have some very understanding friends!) After telling her my woes, she said something to me that really got me thinking. What she said was, "Cath, you have already made your decision. You just need time for your head to catch up."

Of course she was right. In my heart of hearts I had already made my decision to leave. My mind, which is always thinking rationally and is often plagued with the "what ifs", was still trying to figure out ways to make my work situation work. I just needed time for my rational brain to come to the same conclusion as my heart. After 2 days of just being still, they finally came to an agreement and I handed in my resignation...and haven't looked back.

If you are facing a tough decision in your life, take some time to just be still and listen to what your heart and your body is trying to tell you. Has your decision already been made for you? If it has, then give your mind as much time as it needs to "catch up" and come to the same conclusion. Then act on it. It may turn out to be one of the most difficult things you have ever done, but, in my experience anyway, I've never regretted it.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Favourite Things

A few weeks ago a friend of mine sent me a joke about the differences between dogs and cats. In the joke, everything the dog did during the day was his "favourite thing" whether it was eating, sleeping on the bed or taking a car ride. On the other hand, the cat was convinced that everything that came his way was part of a plot by his "captors" to drive him insane. Now, if you have had a cat or a dog, this joke is funny because it is very true. Cats and dogs are very different. But the joke also got me thinking. How many times is my way of thinking like a dog, where everything I do and everything that happens is my "favourite thing", and how many times is it more like a cat, where everything is a plot to drive me insane? I wish I could say that I'm totally like the dog, but, like most people, I can't. My way I think depends on a lot of things - my mood, the weather (I always am more positive when it is sunny out!) and how well I slept among them. But the joke really made me become more aware of how I'm thinking and I'm trying to be more like a dog than a cat. So what are you, a dog or a cat?