It is easy to change a situation when you pick the right approach. It’s also important to pick something you can actually change. I live in a senior community where two thirds of the population is non-active, non-social and sometimes grouchy and lonely. However, one-third of us are active and social and we participate with others in mind.
Those of us who were active where elected to the Resident’s Association. We planned events and put out notices before meetings trying to encourage those non-active residents to participate. It was an effort that was only rewarded by a few reluctant, people showing up. The situation was so bad that we could not get anyone to run the nominating committee for the following year let alone get anyone to run for an office. It was a huge, unrewarded effort to try to get that group of people involved.
I began to look at what would happen if we did not have a Resident’s Association. We had simplified the activities so that it was easier to host them. We had created an easy to attend game night that was drawing those who wanted to be active with no more hosting effort than showing up. And then I got it. I saw these non-active residents as a big, dark, negative, heavy burden a few of us were trying to encourage to lighten up. It was depressing and a heavy weight. Until I decided to leave it up to the Law of Attraction. The group of 20 people who like to go places and do things have already found each other. We will think up things to do and go do them. All we have to do is be happy and joyous and have fun and those who are like-minded will join us. It’s that simple. There is no effort involved, only joyous participation.
The relief was immediate. I don’t have to change anyone. I get to keep making myself more joyous, more active, more friendly. That’s easy.
What are you trying to move that doesn’t want to move?
Is there an immoveable object in your life? What if you simply turned a corner, went another direction, and followed a path where like-minded others were headed? Wouldn’t that be easier and more fun?
When I am happy, when I do my work well, when I reach out and welcome like-minded people into my life, our collective light shines brighter and others will find us. Stop pushing and shoving. Simply start being.
The idea of a minimalist day has certain appeal. What if your day, your life today was really, really simple? What would it look like? Better still, what would it feel like?
A minimalist day is about savoring
I meditate but I don’t meditate for very long because my mind starts thinking up ideas that make me want to rush to the computer and write. To change that, my minimalist day would be about savoring every choice I make. Whatever time I choose to meditate, I will sink into it and absorb the experience. I will take more time with my Falun Gong moving meditation. I will immerse myself in my writing, my coaching, my meals, my exchanges with others. I will consciously savor each moment.
A minimalist day is about awareness
I will take time to notice, to feel and to absorb the beauty around me. Whether I stop and embrace the feeling of the warm spring sun coming through the window or answer the loving purr of my cat with a hug, I will let the day unfold with awareness of each gift.
I will forget the “to do” list and the schedule I made up. I will tune in to and honor my awareness and impulses in the moment. If my impulse is to write I write, if my impulse is to do my yoga, I stop and do my yoga. When a phone call comes, I will take time to savor the interchange and deepen my connection with the person who called. I will be aware of the precious moments of my day.
Minimalist means getting important things done
Is anything more important than being in the moment? A walk around the block may feel more important than reading yet another post. Reading a post and writing an article about an idea it sparks may be more important than running the sweeper. You just never know. Look, listen and feel the choices that present themselves and honor the moment by immersing yourself in its beauty.
Minimalist means keeping it simple
A welcome serenity comes from simplifying your surroundings. The feeling of freedom, space, and lightness I received when I finally gave away some no-longer needed possessions was enormous. Look thoughtfully at what you have surrounded yourself with and see what you need and what you don’t need. Ask yourself three questions: Do you really love it? Do you need it now? Can you imagine yourself or anyone in your family ever loving or needing it in the foreseeable future? If you can’t answer yes to any one of these questions, sell it, donate it, or recycle it. When I gave stuff away, I had more room to enjoy the items I kept.
Minimalist means being in the present
In my interchange with people today can I be really, really present? Can I look and listen carefully at their expressions and their words and understand the meaning beneath the surface? Can I look out the window at the rolling clouds and feel their majesty? Does the sunset merit my time to watch it unfold? How present can I truly be today?
What are you missing by being busy? Busy is a choice. As is stillness. Will you choose stillness today?
‘The word “criticize” means to condemn, disapprove of, censure, disparage, or pass judgment on. Those are ugly words and they are particularly ugly when criticism is directed toward the people we live with. The worse thing about being critical is that when you go around looking for things to criticize that’s all you’re going to see – things to criticize. If you start looking instead for the beauty in others, you will see only their beauty.
How do you express your opinion?
Let’s say you have an opinion about something. We all do at some point. “Opinion” means judgment but it also means “view” and “attitude.” It’s natural that we are each going to see a variety of ways to do any given thing. It’s what we do with that difference of opinion that matters in our relationship with others.
Can you solve the problem?
In business, the best managers tell you that if you see a problem you need to come to them not just with the problem, but with the way to fix it. Think about that. If you see something that is not exactly the way you’d like to see it, what solution can you offer? That’s huge. If you don’t criticize any situation you don’t have a way to correct, then don’t criticize.
Are you doing your share?
It’s not OK to criticize someone who is doing something if you are not willing to step in and help fix it. The very fact that someone has stepped forward to embrace responsibility, to look for a solution and take action to solve the problem, is wonderful. However big or small the action, they are thinking of others. If you think things should be different, get to work and do your part.
You are heard even if they don’t do it your way
One last thing. Offering a suggestion is one thing. Having it be an idea that others want to do may be something else entirely. Your idea may not be practical or it may not be what the person you are suggesting it to wants to do. Suggesting does not guarantee acceptance of your idea.
What would it feel like to eliminate criticism?
It would be great if we could live in a no-critical zone. Maybe we should have a no-criticism day just to see what it would feel like to look lovingly at all the people in our life for an entire day. We are a community and each of us contributes to the whole. What does your contribution look like? Is it all you’d like it to be?
© 2012 Cara Lumen
Where you look to see how you are doing or where you want to go is very revealing. How you reference your progress dictates the outcome you will generate.
Are you looking ahead?
Are you caught up in the “what if’s?” What is the worst that can happen? How can we be prepared for this situation or that situation? Do you start looking ahead with fear or apprehension? Are you not trying things because you fear the outcome? Looking ahead can stop you in your tracks.
Are you looking to the side?
Are you busy comparing yourself to others? Do you feel unsuccessful because someone you know seems to be doing better? Are you in a constant race with your peers to “get ahead”? The only race you are running is with yourself. You might get some ideas from others that you can adapt to your own unique style, but that very uniqueness will always keep you doing it your way, like no one else can. Don’t look for comparisons; enjoy being yourself.
Are you looking behind?
We often use how far we have come to measure our progress. Sometimes that can feel good and other times not so much. If you haven’t progressed, you will be discouraged. If you have progressed, you might feel overwhelmed. Look in the present to see if you are still doing what resonates.
The present holds the key
The ego wants us to plan. We want control. We want to make stuff happen. But the best place to look for your next step is in the moment. Keep your mind open and unstructured. Become more aware of the signs and signals the Universe offers that show you new possibilities. How you feel in the moment, the opportunities and circumstances you find yourself in, the internal changes you have made as you live your life are powerful guidelines to the steps you could take next. See how you feel in the moment. . Notice what new ideas and opportunities have appeared. Focus on the problems you can actually impact. Act on what you are internally urged to do in that moment. Keep your eye on the qualities you want to have prominent in your life like love, kindness, serenity, contentment and make choices that honor your values like honesty, truthfulness, and service to others.
Don’t look ahead in anticipation. Don’t look beside in comparison. Don’t look behind to measure progress. Look inside, right now and move forward from there.
© 2012 Cara Lumen