What a yucca plant taught me about communicating

What a yucca plant taught me about communicating

There’s something about digging in the dirt that connects my brain with my heart in a real, tangible way. That’s probably why I love gardening as much as I do. It’s an enjoyable and productive way to spend my time, and checks off quite a few of my rules for a blissy life — get to source, listen to your heart, create beauty, purge regularly.

My neighbor Steve gave us some yucca plants, dug up from his front yard. I’ve heard they can be pokey; I didn’t expect one of the swords to puncture my heal and draw real amounts of blood. My initial reaction was ego driven — damn plant!

But was it the plant’s “fault” for the poke? Did it intend to hurt me? Of course not. The plant (which, if you aren’t familiar with yuccas, are gorgeous in the yard here in coastal NC climate) was simply being itself.

It was my fault, for approaching the plant too quickly, without paying attention to what that plant was trying to tell me, what it needed. I was not paying attention to that plant’s truth.

Hmmm.

Lesson learned.

Maybe it takes a little blood being drawn to make a profound point, whether you’re a plant or a person. One thing for sure, I’ll remember this one, and use it to modify my communication style.

Next up? Seven slightly frost-bitten Rio Sambo rose bushes. I wonder what they’ll teach me?

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The bliss of Getting to Source

The bliss of Getting to Source

I was raised to have faith that were was something deeper to life, something beyond the physical senses. I had faith there was a deeper point to all our existence. Many of us are raised to have this kind of faith.

It wasn’t until my oldest daughter was born and I held her for those first precious moments, that faith turned to knowing. I looked into those wide eyes and saw the Source. I saw the Universe reflected back to me, God’s love in all its mystical beauty and astounding truth. In that all-too-brief moment I went from believing in a greater source to knowing it was there.

This was the inspiration for Rule #1 (Get to Source) in 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life. But what does that look like in practical terms?

Some get to their spiritual source through prayer or religious devotions. Others get there through meditation, writing, painting, music, walking on the woods, even weeding the garden. It doesn’t matter how you get there. Just take some time, even a few minutes each day, to shut out the physical and turn your focus on the bigger picture.

When we do, we begin to feel more connected to the whole. We feel less alone. From here, we start to embrace our existence as a vital part of the whole.

Having faith is a powerful thing. Your faith, combined with this deep knowing, amplifies that power in incredible ways. When we are intentional about getting to source every day, that power starts to manifest in entirely new ways.

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Supporting Rare Disease Week in Action

Supporting Rare Disease Week in Action

At 10 Little Rules, rare diseases are personal. Wendy Price, author of 10 Little Rules of Hank, lives with the reality of rare disease in her family every day, every hour, sometimes even minute by minute.

That’s why we’re supporting Rare Disease Week, a chance for you and me and anybody else who cares to lobby their Congresspeople and ask them to support the rare disease community.

For us, and for so many families we’ve connected with, it’s personal. Hank was diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) when he was just a babe. Now 8, Hank is a non-stop engine of enthusiasm, wit, trouble … and yes, EoE. He hasn’t been “cured,” but he currently is in remission.

Hank’s our hero.

Now you can be a hero too. Please contact your elected officials during Rare Disease Week (February 25-29) and encourage them to support the important work to be done; you can use the link on the RDLA website.

You can also visit CURED (Campaign Urging Research for Eosinophilic Disease) national nonprofit help raise funds to research for a cure. Hank’s book is featured on their website, and all their profits are donated to a cure.

Please do it for Hank and the rest of the kids like him who struggle with EoE, or do it on behalf of someone you know who is maybe battling a different rare disease. We are all in this together. It could be any of us.

Thanks for supporting this effort. From the bottom of our 10 Little Rules hearts.

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Your Trifecta of Bliss …

Your Trifecta of Bliss …

The path to happiness can seem long and daunting … even when we know we hold the key to happiness now in our hearts and our hands. If you’re feeling stuck on the long path, register (free) for Deepak Chopra’s next 21 Day Meditation Challenge “Manifesting Grace Through Gratitude.”

BTW, this hits at least three of the 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life: Getting to Source (#1); Making Rituals (#9); and Giving Thanks (#10). It’s like a trifecta of blissyness for your soul.

And if you haven’t meditated before, don’t worry about a thing. These guided meditations offer a lovely introduction to the art of meditation, with step by step guidance and encouragement. Thirty minutes a day for 21 days could quite literally change your life.

Namaste

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How to be happier … right this moment

How to be happier … right this moment

The advice is all over the internet. We know we should get enough sleep, eat right, exercise, connect with friends, volunteer, take a walk. But there’s one thing that seems to be missing from a lot of this happiness advice.

Quit spending so much time on social media. Like, right now. Stop it.

“Every day there is another article, video or piece of content that tells us we need to do or not do something because science has proven it’s ‘bad for us,’” Levy writes in Entrepreneur. “As a human behavior scientist, it drives me crazy that so many people are still surprised by these so-called discoveries. Did you really not know that sleep is important? Or that obsessing over your Instagram posts is unhealthy? This isn’t new.”

Levy advises us to stop being proud of how well we multi-task (it’s not a good thing, really, it just means we’ve forgotten how to focus). And he believes that much of our distraction, stress and unhappiness comes from our little phones.

“Put away your phone and smartwatch while you’re in a meeting. Close all those browser tabs, shut off notifications, and focus on one task at a time. Be where you are at the moment and nowhere else,” Levy notes.

It’s great advice. Be happy … now. Love you all.

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Kinda pissed…

A fun little image from 10 Little Rules for Your Creative Soul author Rita Long. Thanks, Rita, you made our day!

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The ego, the soul and the social stream

The ego, the soul and the social stream

Social media.

Love it, hate it, need it, avoid it — we are all on there for various personal, social and professional reasons. And yeah, it’s got its challenges.

Making peace with this reality is neither easy nor quick, and lately it’s been top of mind for me as I go through my work day.

A couple days ago I made a comment on a friend’s post. He was really upset about something going on in the “larger” world — I could tell because of the giant black letters against a blood red background. I may not catch every nuance, but this one was pretty unmistakable.

And I believed he was wrong in how he was looking at the issue. I posted a civil response with my point of view, coming from my 20 years in the online publishing industry.

He deleted the comment, and made a comment about his right to do so. Okay.

At first my ego said “Ha! He knows I’m right; that’s why he deleted my comment.” Then I backed away, gave my ego a gentle but firm hug, and whispered “time out” in her ear.

I browsed through his timeline, reading some of the news sources he shared, trying to gain an understanding of where he was coming from with his opinions. Gradually I began to see what scared him — I could see where the fears were, and how they were being amplified. And I began to realize that his fears — loss of freedom, control, livelihood, ideals — aren’t that far from mine. In fact, they come down to fairly common fears and anxieties we all experience on one level or another.

The only apparent difference? The reasons — the people and policies that are exacerbating these fears in each of us.

In the larger dialogue, these differences can seem vast and insurmountable. But in that personal moment, the commonality of our human anxiety was what struck home. From that point of view, our differences didn’t seem that far off at all.

We all have a circle of immediate influence — in that circle, we can do good, do harm, make change or support the status quo. And then there’s the larger circle, in which we have a voice, sometimes a powerful voice, but changes comes more slowly.

And then there’s the social circle, in which we all have a voice but it often does little to advance our own intentions. It’s just adding noise.

Beyond making our own voice heard, however, is another powerful agent for change. Listening. Trying to truly discover where the other person is coming from, their fears, their motivations and intentions. It’s not easy to go there; but it’s critical if we expect to find long-lasting solutions to the problems that plague us.

 

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Do Your Best and Have a Banana

Do Your Best and Have a Banana

“Always do your best.”

It’s one of the Four Agreements, the seemingly simple yet profound book on Toltec wisdom by Don Miguel Ruiz. The idea is that, no matter what you’re doing, do it to the best of your ability. No half-assing it, no sweeping the dirt under the rug, that sort of thing.

But there’s a critical part to understanding this. We are human, and some days our best is not quite what it is on another day. When we are tired, or stressed, or anxious, or sick, or in the middle of chaos, our “best” might just look like survival.

That doesn’t mean we get a free pass; bliss comes at the other end of doing what you’re doing with presence and intention, immersing yourself in the moment. And sometimes, that means we have to care for ourselves, with the same commitment and passion we put into taking care of others, taking care of business.

Some days I’m a tornado of productivity. Other days, like today, it’s all I can do to keep my eyes open at the keyboard. So I must intentionally decide — is my “best” right now pushing this next piece, even if my creative energies are waning? Or would doing my best look like taking a little time off, maybe a nap, or a long walk, or a hot shower?

There’s a trap in this. It’s too easy to take the easy route, putting off what truly needs doing for the sake of “self-care” or even indulgence. The solution for me lies in listening to that still, quiet voice. It knows if I’m phoning it in, or not engaging as well as I should. It calls me back to the task to bang out the blog post or finish that client proposal, no excuses. And then, job well done, it knows when I should back off, rest and recharge.

It all comes back to listening. Be attentive to what your instincts are saying. And learn to separate those gut feelings from the tapes in your head that might say you’re not being successful enough, or working hard enough, generally in comparison to others. Doing your best compared to what? Your best days? Or somebody’s else’s idea of what your best should look like?

Today i’m not sure. Nap? Keep going on work? Something else? Maybe I’ll take hubby’s lead who says, quite simply, “I’m having a banana.”

Maybe for today’s that the best I got. <3

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