Category Archives: ideas

Morning Routines: Fun Stuff!


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Yesterday we explored the idea of what if we added “fun stuff” to the serious stuff that we already do such as meditating and exercise. Today, let’s list fun things we can do.

 

~Blow bubbles

As you know, right now this is one of my go-to fun activities.

 

~Singing any old which way you feel like it in the moment

This was offered by a long-time reader of this blog.   This is a great way to oxygenate your system, a fun way to move around and get a little exercise, and you can’t help but feel better after singing at the top of his/her lungs!  🙂

 

~Taking the time to make a delicious breakfast

This was suggested by a friend of mine who enjoys home cooking but doesn’t always take the time to make breakfasts she loves such as pancakes, waffles, and vegetable scrambled eggs.

 

~Sitting outside with a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper

A neighbor offered this one.  He has a small “grove” of pine trees and in it nestled an Adirondack chair.  Now with it lighter in the mornings, he sometimes sneaks out there to read for a few minutes before heading off to work.

 

~Reading in a fun book

A young mother who does a lot of technical reading for her job loves to wake up a little early and read her latest fun book–or mind candy book, as she calls it!  🙂

 

~Doodling

An artist friend of mine enjoys doodling first thing in the morning.  She doodles shapes, symbols, or random strokes; sometimes she uses graphite pencils and sometimes she used magic markers or crayons.

 

~Origami

A friend of mine has a high pressure management position and she likes to fold origami.  In the mornings when she does it, the activity becomes a meditation for her.  And afterward, not only is her soul nourished but she has a pretty flower or animal to show for the efforts, which boosts her spirits.  And the origami also boosts the spirits of the person she gives it away to.  Cool!

 

~Ironing

I know what you’re thinking:  what the heck is ironing doing on this list of fun activities to do in the morning?!  Believe it or not, I have a friend who enjoys ironing early in the morning.  She likes that it lends itself to meditation.  She also likes the smell of the hot iron on the cotton fabric–it connects her to her childhood and memories of her mother.  And she and her family have crisply pressed clothes in the bargain!

 

 

As you can see, there are a variety of different activities. The common thread through them all is pleasure.  Each of these activities weren’t something that the person had to do; they were activities that the person chose to do for the simple fact that it gave them pleasure.

Feel free to share the activities you enjoy doing in the morning. Thanks!  Remember to add them to your morning routine!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Start the Week off Right: Get Up When Your Alarm First Rings

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I was listening to James Allen’s Byways to Blessedness, a Librivox recording.  The first section of the book talks about beginnings.

James Allen states that there are beginnings we have no control over, for instance we may have been laid off from work and now we’re facing the beginning of unemployment and the process of looking for a new job.  He advises to not focus on these beginnings, aside from taking care of our responsibilities, but rather to focus on the beginnings we have total and complete control over.  He says that these types of beginnings are of vital importance because they create the complex web of results that then make up our life.  He went on to say that these beginnings are controlled by our thoughts and mental attitudes, and the resulting daily conduct and actions we take.

According to James Allen, the first beginning to focus on—the easiest one to take control of—is the start of a new day, namely when your alarm clock first rings. He suggests answering these questions because “…much happiness or unhappiness depends upon the right or wrong beginning of the day…”:

 

~At what time does the alarm go off?

~Do we immediately get up?

~In what frame of mind do we enter the sacredness of a new day?

~How do we go about getting ready for the day?

 

One of his suggestions is to rise at an early hour, even if we don’t have to because this will help “…start the day strongly by shaking off indolence.”

 

Then this statement jumped out at me: “…How are you to develop strength of will in mind and body if you begin every day by yielding to weakness?”

 

He’s telling us to stop hitting the snooze button and to get up when our alarm first goes off. 

 

I get his point that by hitting the snooze alarm, we aren’t really getting a few extra Zzzz’s—in fact researchers have shown that hitting the snooze alarm does not help; the “extra sleep” you get is not restful.  James Allen is saying that when we hit the snooze alarm what we’re actually doing is telling our mind and body that it’s okay to procrastinate, it’s okay to indulge ourselves, it’s okay to go for instant gratification.

James Allen goes on to say:  “Self-indulgence is always followed by unhappiness.  People who lie abed until a late hour are never bright and cheerful and fresh but are the prey of irritabilities, depressions…and all unhappy moods.”

He then goes on to say that hitting the snooze alarm is like an alcoholic taking a nip in order to brace him/herself and steady his/her nerves for the upcoming issues in the day.

 

It’s our self-indulgence in hitting the snooze alarm that creates indolence and avoidance that is creating the issues–it’s our weaknesses and our pandering to our moods and emotions that are at the root cause of the issues that we’re avoiding!

 

James Allen adds:  :…Men and women are totally unaware of the great losses which they entail by this common indolence (hitting the snooze alarm):  loss of strength of both mind and body, loss of prosperity, loss of knowledge, and loss of happiness.

James Allen isn’t the only one who urges getting up early and getting up right away.  Earl Nightingale, Brian Tracy, Wayne Dyer and other successful people join him in this.  One of James Allen suggestions for this “extra time” is to take a gentle walk in Nature.  Earl Nightingale, Brian Tracy, Wayne Dyer, and others advise filling the time with studying sacred and/or inspirational writings, studying the industry in which we work, and pursuing other avenues of self-development and education.

Wow.

Usually I get up the first time the alarm rings.  Occasionally, though, I’ve let myself sleep a little later, commonly on the weekends.  I have noticed that James Allen’s statement is true:  I seem to be a little less focused and less productive on the days I allow myself to catch up on my sleep.  In fact, I had been wondering if it wouldn’t be better to get up at my normal time and take a short nap during the day if I need it.  I guess James Allen’s answer would be YES!!!

This week’s challenge is to get up on time—when the alarm first rings. Let me know the differences you notice in your week. Feel free to leave your comments below. Thanks!

Please pass this post along to a friend. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Quotes to Ponder Over the Weekend

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As we head into the weekend, take a moment to read over the following quotes. Choose one that resonates strongly with you and let it perk on the back burner of your mind as you go about your weekend chores and routines. Then take some quite time where you can be alone and undisturbed and mull over the quote you’ve chosen. Jot down the thoughts, insights, and ideas that come to you.

How can you incorporate what you’ve discovered into your days so that you can have a richer, more fulfilling life? Feel free to share in the comments below. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

 

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. – Stephen King

 

Everyone has inside them a piece of good news. The good news is you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is. – Anne Frank

 

In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently. – Tony Robbins

 

Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known. – Garrison Keillor

 

Defeat may serve as well as victory to shake the soul and let the glory out. – Edwin Markham

 

Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do. – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

 

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength. -Corrie Boom

 

Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C s. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable. -Walt Disney

Quotes to Start Your Week Off Right: Viktor E. Frankl

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Viktor E. Frankl survived Auschwitz and went on to found Logotherapy, a method of psychotherapy where the patient is guided to discover the meanings to be fulfilled by his/her future.  Frankl believed that the Will to Meaning, as he called it, is one of the most fundamental driving human forces, along with the need for food, clothing, and shelter.

Here are a few of his thoughts—ones that will encourage you to contemplate the deeper reasons for your existence and, thus, directing you toward a personally compelling meaning and purpose in your life.

 

Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.

You don’t have to respond to everything that happens in your day or week.  You can step back, take a breath, and let the situation unfold more fully before choosing how you want to respond—if at all.  Don’t be so quick to judge or to blurt out that snappy comeback.  Perhaps it’s better to wait a beat or two and give yourself a chance to choose what you do or do not want to do.

 

When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.

When we encounter situations we don’t like, we’re quick to try to change them.  But perhaps the gift lies not in how strong we are and how well we overcome a setback/challenge/obstacle but rather how we can see what it’s revealing in us that needs strengthening or improving or changing in some way.

 

Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.

This is another way of saying what Nietzsche said: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

 

When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure.

Pleasure’s satisfactions are fleeting and, like a drug, one finds that they need more and more of it to receive the same level of pleasure.  Meaning, on the other hand, sates the deep need within all of us to live lives that matter.

 

Make a note of the quote(s) that resonated with you and keep them handy; refer to them often this week.

Which quote resonated with you?  Let me know in the comments below.  Thanks!

Please feel free to pass this post along to a friend who may need a boost.  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Back by Popular Demand: You’ve Failed? Congratulations!

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rozbit%C3%A9_j%C3%ADzdn%C3%AD_kolo_na_b%C5%99ehu_Daugavy.jpg

 

 

Bad choices, mistakes, and plain old stupidity.  Nobody wants to acknowledge these, much less talk about them.  People want to hear success stories, find the keys to success, and learn the 3 steps or 7 steps or 12 steps–or however many steps are in vogue at this moment–to success.  The media and our culture glorify it, making us feel envious and less-than, which Madison Avenue loves because then they can sell us something to “solve” it.

However, failure is one of the most important things you can do, as long as you don’t let it defeat you and as long as you don’t quit!

In spite of how discouraged–or ridiculous or stupid–you may feel and no matter how hard it is, take the next step!

Moving forward, even if it’s only by an infinitesimally small increment, is the only way to get through (around, under, or over) what seems like failure and defeat.  In reality, it’s a stepping-stone to a breakthrough for you.

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http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cononley_09.JPG

So, in the words of Winston Churchill, “When you’re going through hell, keep going!”  

Here are a few other quotes that might inspire and motivate you:

Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.

– Truman Capote

Being defeated is only a temporary condition; giving up is what makes it permanent.

– Marilyn vos Savant,

Fall down seven times, get up eight.

- Japanese Proverb

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

– Michael Jordan

 

Jot down any of the quotes that resonated with you and keep them handy so you can refer to them often.  I’m so proud of you for not giving in, for finding the steel and the fire within, and for moving forward.  

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Thoughts on Reading from Earl Nightingale

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Here’s a wonderful essay from Earl Nightingale (who would have been 96 tomorrow) on the importance of reading.  Enjoy!

How are you coming with your home library? Do you need some good ammunition on why it’s so important to read? The last time I checked the statistics…I think they indicated that only four percent of the adults in this country have bought a book within the past year. That’s dangerous. It’s extremely important that we keep ourselves in the top five or six percent.

In one of the Monthly Letters from the Royal Bank of Canada it was pointed out that reading good books is not something to be indulged in as a luxury. It is a necessity for anyone who intends to give his life and work a touch of quality. The most real wealth is not what we put into our piggy banks but what we develop in our heads. Books instruct us without anger, threats and harsh discipline. They do not sneer at our ignorance or grumble at our mistakes. They ask only that we spend some time in the company of greatness so that we may absorb some of its attributes.

You do not read a book for the book’s sake, but for your own.

You may read because in your high-pressure life, studded with problems and emergencies, you need periods of relief and yet recognize that peace of mind does not mean numbness of mind.

You may read because you never had an opportunity to go to college, and books give you a chance to get something you missed. You may read because your job is routine, and books give you a feeling of depth in life.

You may read because you did go to college.

You may read because you see social, economic and philosophical problems which need solution, and you believe that the best thinking of all past ages may be useful in your age, too.

You may read because you are tired of the shallowness of contemporary life, bored by the current conversational commonplaces, and wearied of shop talk and gossip about people.

Whatever your dominant personal reason, you will find that reading gives knowledge, creative power, satisfaction and relaxation. It cultivates your mind by calling its faculties into exercise.

Books are a source of pleasure – the purest and the most lasting. They enhance your sensation of the interestingness of life. Reading them is not a violent pleasure like the gross enjoyment of an uncultivated mind, but a subtle delight.

Reading dispels prejudices which hem our minds within narrow spaces. One of the things that will surprise you as you read good books from all over the world and from all times of man is that human nature is much the same today as it has been ever since writing began to tell us about it.

Some people act as if it were demeaning to their manhood to wish to be well-read but you can no more be a healthy person mentally without reading substantial books than you can be a vigorous person physically without eating solid food. Books should be chosen, not for their freedom from evil, but for their possession of good. Dr. Johnson said: “Whilst you stand deliberating which book your son shall read first, another boy has read both.”
― Earl Nightingale

 

Make time in your week to read.  You’ll be glad you did!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

A Meaningful Life: A Few Resources

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http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=19743&picture=love-of-books

 

Here are a few books I’ve come across that may help you think about what would make your life meaningful and how to go about designing it.

I’ve listed the books in alphabetical order by title:

Image courtesy of Amazon.com
Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Designing Your Life:  How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

I found this book to be very interesting because the authors show you how to use a design mindset rather than an engineering mindset when creating a life full of meaning—your dream life.

The authors explain the difference between design thinking and engineering thinking as the difference between thinking to create (design) and thinking to build (engineering).  With engineering thinking, you are building something, say, a house or a bridge.  There are templates, formulas, similar things that others have already built.  You may have to use a little design thinking—for instance, the terrain may pose challenges that haven’t really been solved before so you and your team have to be creative—but for the most part, you’re working with a number of “knowns”.

In design thinking, you’re basically making stuff up and trying it out, tweaking it or making more stuff up, trying that out, tweaking…etc..  You know what you want to achieve, but there are no templates, formulas, or “knowns” to work with.  You have to get creative, brainstorm, try out all sorts of things, refine and remake, try out things again…etc..

The authors point out that these are two different types of thinking.  One is not superior to the other, in fact, both types of thinking are needed to live in the world.  It’s helpful to have a clear understanding of these types of thinking because if (when!) you get stuck, it could be that you’re bringing the wrong type of thinking to the situation.

The book focuses mainly on design type thinking with explanations, examples, anecdotes, and “homework”.

 

Image courtesy of Amazon.com
Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Everything Happens for a Reason:  Finding the True Meaning of Events in Our Lives by Mira Kirshenbaum

According to Mira Kirshenbaum’s research and observations, the events in our lives fall into at least one of the categories of meanings.  The categories are:

~to help you feel at home in the world;

~to help you totally accept yourself;

~to show you that you can let go of fear;

~to bring you to the place where you can feel forgiveness;

~to help you uncover your true hidden talent;

~to give you what you need to find true love;

~to help you become stronger;

~to help you discover the play in life;

~to show you how to live with a sense of mission;

~and to help you become truly a good person.

In the book, she explains each of the categories and includes examples and anecdotes.  This can be helpful in making sense of something that may have happened years ago and is still negatively impacting your life.  It can help you find, understand, and accept the gift.  Then it can help you let it go so you can move closer to a life full of meaning—your dream life.

 

Image courtesy of Amazon.com
Image courtesy of Amazon.com

The Power of Meaning:  Crafting a Life that Matters by Emily Esfahani Smith

In this book, Emily Esfahani Smith includes examples and anecdotes, but she also adds some of the current research on meaning, what it is, and how to go about adding meaning to your life.  Don’t let the fact that it does contain the results of research deter you from picking up this book!  The author has a very engaging style and a talent for making the information easily understandable.

She distinguishes between a life aim of being happy versus a life aim of having your life matter.  Aiming for happiness can lead to striving for ease and a life with few problems and challenges.  There’s nothing wrong with this, however, it probably won’t satisfy that deeper *something* that you may be longing for or craving.  This is because your focus is primarily on yourself and your life, and looking to the outside for help and solutions.

Emily Esfahani Smith states that a life of meaning—a life that matters—on the other hand will usually NOT be easy and most likely will present you with MORE challenges, obstacles, and problems.  This is because your focus will be on how you—with your talents, your skills, your knowledge, your know-how, your abilities, your uniqueness—can contribute to the greater whole of the world—even if it’s “only” in your tiny community or neighborhood.  Your focus is on something much larger than yourself, and you’re looking within for the help and solutions—reaching deep within yourself to uncover and discover the gold and treasures within to then share with others.

She also makes other distinctions—perhaps they’re better called definitions—such as what Purpose means and how it doesn’t have to be a Big Thing like solving world hunger.

 

In my opinion, all of these books bring excellent thoughts to the topic of creating a meaningful life.  I recommend that you at least take a look at them.  Feel free to let me know what you think of them.

I am still in the process of digesting all the good stuff in these books.  I’ll definitely get back to you with other nuggets and tips that I glean from them!

Do you have some resources that you use?  Feel free to share in the comments below.  Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

PLEASE NOTE:  The links to these books on Amazon.com are NOT affiliate links.  I do NOT make any money on whether or not you click on the link and I do NOT make any money on whether or not you purchase any of these books.