Article by Mary Be a Sullivan, Edited by Dee DeWitt

 

“What happened to you?” My friend Marjorie asked.  “Last time I saw you, you were so clear.  Today, you are all over the place.”

 

Marjorie was right, my energy was scattered and my focus blurry.  After a week filled with too much work, too many evenings out, and not enough silence, I was reverting to old, unhealthy ways of thinking.

 

“It is like the real you has vacated the premises and your inner critic is holed up in your head indulging herself like a drunken rock star.”  Marjorie added.

 

I cackled loudly at her analogy–a well-needed release from the swamp of negativity that I had been slogging through. Read More »

Posted on 19 July, 2010 in Balance, Happiness, Motivation
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Article by Malcolm Marler, Edited by Dee DeWitt

None of us are perfect, and neither was my father. Lewis Marler would have been the first person to tell you so.

If he was reading this blog he would say to me, “Malcolm, you’re making me sound too good.  I made lots of mistakes.  People are going to think too highly of me.”

 

There are not many of us who would worry about being thought of “too highly.”  But my father did.

In fact, he worried about a lot about of things.

 

He worried about what others thought of him. He worried if he had disappointed persons.  If he made a promise and for some reason couldn’t fulfill it, he would worry himself sick over it.

 

If he bought a new car, he worried that people in the church would think they were paying the pastor too much.  He turned down salary raises many years.

 

He worried about what he said to others, and would ruminate over it trying to determine if it was the absolute truth, and if it was a kind thing to say. Read More »

Posted on 8 June, 2010 in Balance, Happiness
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Article by Mary Be a Sullivan, Edited by Dee DeWitt

 

The longer we live, the longer our potential list of “certainties.”  Through our unique experiences, we unconsciously accumulate “stories” about all aspects of our lives.

 

Imagine you were given an empty bag and every time you chose to adopt a “certainty” or a “story,” a small pebble was placed in your bag …

 

At first, carrying the bag would be a minor inconvenience, but over time as the bag became weighed down by more stones, it would prevent you from doing certain things.

 

So … what are some of these pebbles we have placed in our bags?

We tell ourselves stories about ourselves that limit our ability to stretch and grow:  “I have never liked exercise and I know I never will.”  “I have to have a closet filled with shoes.”  “I’m too fat.”  “I’m too skinny.”  “I’ll never leave this community.”

 

We tell ourselves stories about other people and set up roadblocks some people are not allowed to pass.  The other day a friend with a southern accent told me that her customers up north treat her as if she wasn’t very bright.  I have also heard comments about “pushy Yankees” as if that were a given for all folks raised above the Mason-Dixon line.

 

We develop beliefs about the way the world works that blind us to any information that doesn’t fit our story:  “If you give homeless people money they will just drink it away.”  “All big businesses are corrupt.”  “If I go to a good school, I will find a good job.”

 

And so some of us bumble along without realizing we are limiting our ability to respond to life because we are dragging a heavy, lumpy sack of stones behind us.

 

Not everyone though. Read More »

Posted on 12 May, 2010 in Balance, Happiness
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Article by Dee DeWitt, Edited by Dee DeWitt

 

When we are trying to accomplish anything, most people want things to come together smoothly and quickly, with “quickly” being the operative word…

 

It doesn’t matter whether it’s reaching a travel destination, finishing a project at the office, losing weight, or learning to play the guitar. We’re taught that faster is better.  Our culture is bombarded with messages from Madison Avenue that faster is better.  Directors of our largest companies – and Wall Street overall – reward quarterly results.  They ask “What have you accomplished over the last 12 weeks?” … instead of long-term growth and stability.

 

Perhaps it’s not fair to pick on CEOs and Wall Street, because examples of “fast is better” are replete in practically every corner our culture.  We all want to see immediate returns for our efforts, and we take huge strides toward reaching our goals expeditiously.  After all, why take small steps when we can take quantum leaps?  And who would want to take the long way when it takes so … long?

 

Another perspective is that, while there is nothing wrong with desiring to move quickly, we also need a strong sense of an appreciation for taking the long way and completing things one step at a time.  Put simply … we need to realize there are real benefits – and we can be happy and content – with taking the long way.

 

Why?

 

Because many things really are meant to take some time.

 

Some things are meant to unfold on their own timeline.  And we are meant to learn things about the issue, about ourselves, about others, and what we are trying to accomplish along the way. Read More »

Posted on 2 April, 2010 in Career, Goals, Happiness
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Article by Malcolm Marler, Edited by Dee DeWitt

 

Some of you know that I accepted a new job about five months ago.  It’s kept me busier than I have been since I was in my 20’s. And if that’s not enough, I accepted more duties within this same timetable in a “moonlighting second job” that I have had been doing for several years. 

 

This doesn’t sound like simplifying my life!

 

I am over-committed, over-promised, and overwhelmed.  Have you been there?  Do you know what this feels like?

 

When I asked my wife, Mary, if I have been like this during our whole marriage, she answered truthfully, “No, you’ve had pretty good boundaries between work and home until you started your new job, and it’s been different since then.”  And she was right.

 

I’m learning that living more simply is not about committing to do more, trying harder, or making more promises to “do better.”  Too many promises makes life complicated, not simpler.  And so I will get out my calendar tomorrow, take a hard look at my commitments in coming weeks, and start saying I’m sorry but I won’t be able to do this or that commitment.  Deep breath.  Maybe it’s time to offer grace to myself. Read More »

Posted on 12 March, 2010 in Happiness, Simplify
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