First thing every morning I read something inspirational. I choose from a variety of sources; many are philosophical in nature rather than religious or spiritual. I choose a short passage, sometimes even a phrase, and after reading it, I take a few minutes to contemplate it.
Today, my inspiration came from the “Today’s Word with Joel and Victoria”* daily email. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even read the whole message; the title was enough to give me a wake-up call: “Eat Your Fruit”.
When I read the title, the first image that immediately popped into my mind was imagining myself speaking words and them turning into fruit as they left my mouth. That led to several other images and revelations. Before I speak any words, first they are thoughts. It occurred to me that positive, helpful words and thoughts are like fresh, ripe fruit and negative words and thoughts are like rotten fruit.
Images of rotten fruit hanging in the air filled my mind. Would I want to touch them and put them into my mouth? Would I want to chew them, then swallow them? Of course the answer was NO! Then what the heck was I doing, then, saying and thinking these negative words and thoughts?!
Your homework for today is to sit quietly for a moment and think about the various situations, people, things, etc., that trigger negative thoughts and words in you. Perhaps it’s slow drivers or long checkout lines at the grocery store, or the neighbor’s garage light that shines in your window as you’re trying to fall asleep at night…. Choose one of these frustrations and imagine it as a fruit. Put as many sensory details into it as you can. Is it dark like a blueberry or is it the color of a pomegranate? Is it soft and mushy or is it hard like a pebble or gritty like sand? Does it have a rotten scent to it or is it sickeningly sweet? Is it heavier than it looks? Is it prickly? Does it ooze some kind of liquid?
Hold that image in your mind so that you can recall it when you are in a situation where negative thoughts and words would normally be triggered. This will help you pause and in that moment you’ll give yourself a little space in which to choose a different way of responding. That slice of time will give you the opportunity to CHOOSE what freshness level of fruit you want inside you and what level you’re willing to send out into the world.
Choose fresh ripe delicious fruit!
For extra credit, after you have an image or a sense in your mind of the fruit that your negative words, thoughts, and emotions is/are (it’s okay if there are different fruits for different thoughts, emotions, and words), now brainstorm different ways to respond to these situations and people. You can always walk away from people who are annoying you; you don’t have to engage with them. You can decide to drive to and from work using less traveled routes instead of piling in with the rest of rush hour traffic. Perhaps you can go to the grocery store at a different time of day when it isn’t so crowded or you can go to a different store—perhaps a smaller one would be faster.
Take the time to do this homework. You’re worth it, your quality of life is worth it, and the people in your life are worth it. A happier, calmer you is better for reaching your goals and dreams and a better person to be around.
You can do it!
I’m so proud of you for doing this work and for taking the steps to move forward in your life. This is important work and so many people benefit from you working toward and achieving your goals and dreams. People you don’t even know yet—and people you may never meet—will have better lives because you achieved your goals and dreams.
Another seven days have gone by so it’s time to check in with yourself. It’s time to acknowledge all the achievements you’ve had and the steps you’ve taken, no matter how small they may seem. No effort is ever wasted. Every tiny piece of a step contributes to your forward progress.
As you look back over the days, what good things stand out? What are you pleased with and even proud of? What happy surprises did you have? Anything serendipitous happen?
Think only of the good, the progress, the forward movement. This is not the time to beat yourself up; this is not the time for woulda’s shoulda’s coulda’s.
YOU ARE REQUIRED TO THINK ONLY OF THE GOOD STUFF THAT’S HAPPENED AND THE PROGRESS YOU’VE MADE AND THE STEPS YOU’VE TAKEN!
Congratulate yourself! Good job! You done good, Kid!!
Your homework for today is to CELEBRATE! Take a moment to feel good about yourself. Note where in your body that emotion lodges. For instance, many people report that good feelings center in their chest and feel warm and glowy. What do they feel like for you? Revel in and enjoy those feelings!
For extra credit, treat yourself as a reward for a job well done. It can be something as simple as spending the afternoon in the library reading your favorite magazines or it can be borrowing a DVD or a CD of music that you like. Another reward can be meeting a friend for a picnic in the park. You don’t have to spend money in order to treat yourself.
“Never give up. Never ever give up.” ~Paraphrase of a quote of Winston Churchill’s *
It can be very hard working toward your dreams and goals. It can be incredibly discouraging and disappointing. It can be painful.
DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES GIVE UP. When you quit, when you throw in the towel, when you give up then it’s all over and there is no hope and no way those goals and dreams will ever come into your life.
You deserve to achieve your goals and dreams. You wouldn’t have them if they were not meant for you. They have your name all over them. They are yours! Go get ’em!
YOU MUST HANG IN THERE. Put your shoulder to that obstacle and push. Even if you have only a little tiny drop of strength, give it your all.
Dig deep. You have strength, you have might, you have a titanium core within you. Life may have knocked you around so much that you think you’re weak and wimpy. I am here to tell you that you are a mighty warrior. You are a victor and a champion. You are way more powerful than anything Life can throw at you. You CAN do it!
So, take a breath and move forward. You can do it, I know you can. I am sure of it!
Your homework for today is to take a look at the steps on the pathway to your goals and dreams. In spite of Life and your Inner Critic telling you it’s impossible and you’re so dumb for thinking you can do it, in spite of that, choose a step, a tiny one that you are positive you can do and then do it. Do it with all the might and glory that you have within you. Because you do have it, it is there waiting for you to tap into it. Go for it! You can do it, I am so very sure of that!
Go for it! You can do it! Yay for you!
I am so very proud of you for not giving up. You are my hero!! You rock! I knew for certain that you could do it!!
* The speech was made October 29, 1941 to the boys at Harrow School. ” Never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” The full speech is contained in “The Unrelenting Struggle” (London:Cassell and Boston:Little Brown 1942, and is found on pages 274-76 of the English edition). It may also be found in “The Complete Speeches of Winston S. Churchill,” edited by Robert Rhodes James (NY:Bowker and London:Chelsea House 1974).
There is an important thing to do before taking the first step. If you’ve started without doing this, no worries! You can do it now–or when it becomes necessary.
Get some cotton (imaginary cotton is just fine) and then:
Stuff your ears with it so that you can’t hear what other people say about you and your dreams and goals.
Most people are trying to be helpful and show their support for you, but sometimes it comes out wrong. They don’t intend to be hurtful or insulting but, without meaning to, their suggestions come across that way.
Some people in your life are naturally negative, even when they’re trying to be positive! No matter how perfect the thing, they’ll naturally find the flaw or the problem. And no matter how happy the occasion, they’ll find something that isn’t quite right. And no matter how well you’ve done something, they’ll find a reason why it isn’t good enough.
Then there are those few people who don’t like you and who don’t wish the best for you. They may even be openly hostile and venomous toward you.
The best way to deal with them is to not listen to what they say: plug your ears with cotton! As much as you can, avoid the negative and the venomous ones all together. If you have no choice, though, limit the time your time with them as much as possible.
Don’t try to justify yourself and what you’re doing, don’t try to explain yourself, and– above all–don’t try to prove them wrong. None of this will change their minds about you and what you’re doing. If you engage them in any way, chances are the whole situation will devolve into a complete mess. None of this will make you happy and it certainly won’t take you any closer to your dreams or goals
Engaging them isn’t worth it.
You have better things to do with your time. You can’t afford to indulge in having bad feelings and negative thoughts. Your goals and your dreams are too important, too valuable, to allow yourself to be derailed.
But, man oh man does that person–or those people–get under your skin!
What do you do about this? How do you get back on an even keel?
The very best thing you can do is to take the next step! You may be agitated and as a result only able to handle a little piece of a step; that’s okay. Do something–anything, no matter how small–that will move you forward.
You may be so agitated, though, that you can’t move forward, even the tiniest bit. In that case, do some self-soothing things such as talking to a person who believes in you, who always makes you feel good about yourself. You can read a book that uplifts you and never fails to put you into a positive frame of mind.
Take a moment to remember and think about the accomplishments you’ve had so far, not only with your dreams and goals but also the times when you helped someone. Perhaps you need to reach out now and help a neighbor or a friend.
You may need to spend time in nature–take a walk or work in the garden. Perhaps it’ll help to play with your kids or your pet.
Once you’ve re-centered, then take that step!
Your homework today is to write down things you can do that will make you feel better when Life or a person has got you down.
For extra credit, find someone you know who’s struggling or maybe doesn’t feel so great about themselves. Give them a pep talk. Tell them the things you admire about them. Remind them of what they’re good at. You’ll make their day–and your own, too!
You can do it! Yay you!
I’m so proud of you for turning around a negative situation. You rock! I knew you could do it!
“The unexamined life is not worth living by a human being” ~Plato
What if you look back over these past seven days and find that your energy and enthusiasm has dwindled? What if Life has intervened in ways you hadn’t imagined so you’re not really taking any steps at all? What if you never really got out of the starting gate in the first place?
What do you do about this?
Is it time to pack it in, give up, and somehow reconcile yourself to the seeming fact that you’re just not one of the lucky people who can attain their goals and dreams?
The answer is: NO!
Don’t let these thoughts get to you!
It’s very common to find your drive and motivation flagging and it’s an all too usual thing for Life to mess up our best-laid plans. And, many people feel discouraged and disappointed from time-to-time.
When you evaluate yourself, be gentle. I’m positive you can look back over these past few days and identify little things you did do to help yourself and small steps you did take. Even if you’re at the very beginning point where you’re working on this in your mind, give yourself credit for the things you are doing. Even just the simple awareness that you want something better for yourself and you’d like to–or hope to–one day do something about it is a reason to celebrate yourself. Remember from previous posts that mind-work in the form of imagination, visualization, contemplation, and awareness is vital and valuable. Also remember that teeny-tiny steps are the foundation of the larger steps you’ll take later on
Your homework today is to celebrate the victories you’ve had this week, no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential. It’s hard work breaking steps into small pieces, overcoming resistance and inertia, pushing aside fears and anxieties, and moving forward. You did it, though!
“Use Imagination!” This statement has genius in it, because it unlocks and unleashes your own special brand of genius in the form of unique and creative ideas and ingenuities. This then fuels you with energy, enthusiasm, and confidence.
“Use Imagination!” is also an anagram of sorts. You can use some of the letters in the phrase to spell the word genius!
And, it’s plain, old-fashioned fun to use your imagination and let it soar; to “give it its head” and let it run.
You may be saying that you’re too busy taking steps to waste time on imagining. Or, you may scoff at the idea, sure that nothing will come of it. That’s because using imagination has gotten a bad rap. Growing up, you probably heard that indulging in imagining was woolgathering, day-dreaming, or being in la-la land. Worse, you may have heard it called laziness, not paying attention, making up stories, or even lying.
It isn’t true!
It’s well-known and documented that great people throughout the ages scheduled time each day for quiet, contemplation in which they would let their imaginations go. Edison was famous for taking naps when he was wrestling with a problem. Often, he would wake with the solution, or a crucial step that would then lead to the solution. Nicola Tesla, upon whose work our wireless technology is based, always worked through his inventions in detail in his mind before building them. And, the daily training routine of Olympians and professional athletes includes imagination sessions where they go through their routines and perfect their movements.
Your homework for today is to schedule an imagination session. Give yourself enough time (5 – 30 minutes) and choose a place where you won’t be disturbed or distracted. As you’re getting comfortable gently think about some aspect of your dream or goal. Or, you can think about your dream or goal in general terms. Then go for it–let your imagination roam and soar where it will. And, no worries; you can’t do this homework incorrectly! It doesn’t matter if your mind worries or wanders–gently bring it back to your dream or goal. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t get any images or ideas. No effort is ever wasted. View this as a building block or a training session. Trust that you’ll get better at it because, with regularly doing this exercise, you will get better. Remember, too, that even the greatest thinkers didn’t have insights or eureka moments in every single session either; you’re in good company!