Recently, I was talking to a friend.  We were trying to find a time to get together.  After much back and forth with calendars and work schedules, we finally found some time in a couple of weeks that we both may be available at the same time.  Everyone is so busy…..all of the time.

It made me think about the first summer I worked in the day job that I currently still hold.  Just before I started the job, my soon to be employer had said, “Don’t worry you will have plenty of time to learn.  Summers are slow.”  I raced all summer long….trying to learn….trying to catch up….trying to catch my breath.  I laugh about it now but that was the busiest summer in her office in over ten years.

It is so hard sometimes dealing with our schedules and commitments.  I have my art and creative practices.  I have a day job.  I take a yoga class.  I have my family and friends.  I have events and activities that I want to participate in.  I have my health and wellness goals.  Sometimes it feels like I am so scheduled that I don’t have any time for myself.  I know that I am not the only one who feels this way.  It seems to me that with so much action and movement all the time, sometimes inaction is the action we need to take.

Trust me, I know how hard this can be.  I am a goal oriented person.  I like to accomplish things.  Striving forward.  Getting chores and tasks done.  Taking care of projects.  Forward momentum.  I find if very hard for me to be still.  Being still doesn’t get stuff crossed off the list.  It’s hard to relax and just be.

I have several friends that practice meditation and another friend who leads a meditation group.  I confess that I attempt to meditate but have difficulty being still.  The best description I was given to help me in clearing my mind was to think of it as a ponds surface and reflection in this pond is myself.

I watched a documentary about the Theoretical Quantum Physicist Amit Goswami.  He said that people in the West are very good at doing things.  While people in the East are very good at being still.  Dr. Goswami stated that we need to combine the philosophies and have a bit more Do-Be-Do-Be-Do….  To me he illustrates in a pleasant way the need many of us have to slow down.

One thing I do to be calm is to read.  Another friend recently commented on the multiple stacks of books that are being read or waiting to be read.  He stated that he thought it is because I can’t focus, and flit from book to book.  But that isn’t the reason all of those books are sitting there.  The reality is that I am so focused on things that require action, I am not taking any time for myself.  Not even enough time to sit and enjoy reading a chapter or two of a book.

If you follow my blog you already know that I love challenging myself.  And I am challenging myself to take some time for me.  To be the reflection in the pond.  To read a chapter or two and enjoy it.  To relax.  To just….be.

When life is so hectic that you can’t catch your breath, the best thing to do is to take a moment for reflection.


The junk mail filter on my personal email account is quite exclusive.  Unless you are a contact of mine any email sent automatically goes into my junk mail file.  I do check my junk mail file on a regular basis because emails that I want sometimes end up there.  Today was a particularly interesting batch of junk emails worded to pique the interest of one’s insecurities.

“The 1-Second Trick to Looking Taller”  “Lift Your Breasts in One Easy Move”  “Why You Should be Picky About Pork”  “A Decade-by-Decade Guide to Managing Your Money (twenties to seventies)”  “Strength Training for Fat Loss!”  “5 Street Style Lessons for Summer”  “Yes Gentleman, Size Matters”  These are just the tags/titles of junk email.

Let’s not forget about the commercials for drugs to fix any ailment real or imaginary.  Advertisements for mattresses that promise the perfect nights sleep, products that make you look younger, etc.  I’m not even going to discuss the TV shows that make one feel like they are not “normal” or are living a less than “perfect” life.  Log onto the internet and one can instantly view articles that have one analyzing their bodies, beliefs, life, relationships, etc. in a critical manner.

It’s everywhere!  The media bombardment aimed at making one unsatisfied.  I admit I get hooked in occasionally myself.  (I did read the article on strength training for fat loss and there was some interesting information.)  These ads, articles, etc. sell a type of perfection or image that is unrealistic and unattainable.  Yet, we all know at least one person who is fixated on perfection.  The perfect experience….house….life plan….car….etc.  They are always planning, always working towards that glossy magazine image of a perfect life.

It is human nature to compare ourselves others.  And done in a healthy way, it can help us strive to behave better towards others, care about our neighbors, and improve living conditions for all people.  But when we are caught in the media idea of perfection, we are too busy planning, analyzing, perfecting, and accumulating to live.  I’m not saying that one should not strive to have a better life.  I am saying that living life is more important than some imagined image of what perfection is.

My challenge to you is take some time to drown out the media/advertising bombardment and enjoy being yourself and being in the moment.  Being alive is perfection in and of itself!

Making Decisions Based on Love or Fear

Just Two Things by D. Eric Hanson

There are just two things, love and fear.
That one there in the breast
Will make the other disappear.

In fear is where the ego dwells
To languish without rest,
Imagining all sort of Hells.

Yet love will cast this demon out, 
Which is all for the best,
Creating joy without a doubt,

There are just two things, fear and love,
To that I can attest.

I have been thinking about the decision-making process not only in relation to creativity…..but how it fits into my day job and life in general.  I noticed that humans, myself included, tend to make decisions based on one of two things…..fear or love.   As I was coming to this conclusion, Eric, who is my friend and an amazing poet, (he has published two wonderfully written poetry books “Acedia” and “Psychology 101” that I highly recommend) sent me the above poem about fear and love.

I also follow “Seth’s Blog” written by Seth Godin.  He has written many times about the Lizard Brain which is this mechanism in the human mind that makes decisions based on self-preservation.  The lizard brain is all about fear based decision-making.

I have noticed that when I make a decision based on fear, even if it is with the best of intentions, I end up either hurting myself, loosing an opportunity, and/or hurting someone else.  Fear decisions can come in many shapes and forms.  It can be the over-protective parent that doesn’t allow a child to play sports or participate in activities because of fear.  It can be sabotaging your submittal to an art show because you fear rejection.  It can be remaining in an unhealthy relationship, even though both people know it isn’t working, because of fear.  It can be turning down a job in another city because you are afraid of living in a different place.  Fear of loosing your job (self-preservation) makes you blame someone else, when it was your error that caused the problem.  I could go on and on.

As to when I make decisions based on love or joy, I tend to be more productive, lighter, and generally happier all the way around.  Decisions based on love also come in many shapes and forms.  It can be finding joy in being healthier and taking a yoga class.  It can be a love of the natural world and making a beautiful garden.  It can be love of another person just as they are and not trying to change them.  It could be finding a love for something, like painting, and sharing that love through an exhibition.  It can be a love for words that you share  with strangers, friends and family through your poetry.  Your love of cooking that translates into carefully crafted meals for yourself and your family or a career in the culinary arts.  Again I could go on and on.

When it comes to making a choice, even a simple every day choice, are you making it out of love or are you basing your decision on fear?  How can you tell?  Is the decision joyful?  Does it cause you to progress in any way, shape or form?  Does it bless your life and those around you?  Does it cause pain in any way, shape or form?  Does it shut down growth or forward movement?  Does it harm or hinder those around you?  Fear based decisions cause pain, stifle growth and spread misery.  Love based decisions spread joy, progress, and bless your life and those around you.

The thing that I learned from my contemplation on decision-making is that I can choose to make interactions positive or negative based on my choices.  I can choose a fear based reaction or a reaction based on love.

You have this ability as well.  How you make decisions are your choice.  You choose your interactions.  Positive or negative, it is all up to you.