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Slow Days

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Okay, so most of you probably know I’m up north visiting the folks. And most of you also know I love life in the fast lane. But up here at Cooly, sure there’s lots going on but there’s also another opportunity presenting itself… the chance to go a little slower.

Take yesterday for example. Instead of giving in to the temptation of getting straight into work Mary and I made the choice to go a little slower. Putting away the phones and laptops until we’d done a few things for ourselves. Prioritising the time for meditating before getting outside for a bit to walk along the beach. It’s one of Mary’s favourite things. With a great breakfast at the other end before we walked back.

The thing is we achieved all of this before 9am.

An awesome way to set ourselves up a great day ahead. And we felt so good.

The thing is when we slow down it’s like we have more time. Time moves slower, we think clearer and things fall into place so much better. It’s about connecting – with world around us, with those we love – and filling up the well so we can then go about our day with a better energy, a clearer more focussed mindset, more centred. It’s about minimising the distractions.

And there are millions of distractions around us. But it’s up to us whether we choose to let them grab our attention and control our lives. Or whether we choose to do something else. To take back control and connect with what’s really important. Our relationships, our values, ourselves.

As Jim Rohn said, either you run the day or the day runs you. So before you start your day tomorrow, take a few moments to work out what you want your day to look like, then work backwards and make some choices to ensure that it happens.

How will you start your day?

Smorgasboard

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How crazy would it be to walk into a deli and tell them what you don’t want. After all, they’d think you were nuts if you walked in and spent half an hour telling them you didn’t want the salami, and you didn’t want the Roquefort, and you didn’t want the caviar and you didn’t want the pickles or the olives or the pastrami or the swiss. In fact they might be showing you the door. A sale in the ‘too hard he’s a nutter’ category.

But in my line of work that’s what I constantly see people do.

Worrying over all the things they don’t want…rather than getting clear on what it is they do want.

After all, the deli is just a microcosm of real life, isn’t it. Because everything that happens in the deli happens on a larger scale in life. Relationships, choices, transactions, fulfillment, disappointment. And the really great thing is when we realise we attract what we put our focus on we can do something about it.

Because if we spend our lives focusing on what we don’t want, is it any wonder it keeps turning up?

But on the other hand, life has a wonderful way of bringing to us the things we get really clear about. It just requires clarity and patience and trust.

Most people don’t realise life’s a smorgasboard. And there’s so much to enjoy.

So what do you really want out of life? And what do you need to get clear about today?

Emotional Congruence

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So we know that emotions are contagious. But did you know our emotions directly affect what we see in the world? And our actual experience of it.

Take two people. One happy, one sad. Show them 50 slides of mixed emotional content. And then ask them to remember what they saw. The happy person remembers more of the happy slides. And of course the sad person… you fill it in.

Both potentials are there but the emotion is like wearing a pair of glasses that let’s you only see half the view.

And it’s because of this thing called emotional congruence. Which means we pay selective attention to our world dependent on how we feel. In plain English, we focus on the stuff around us that mirrors how we’re feeling on the inside. So if we’re feeling crappy we see more of the crappy dark side of life. Things look blacker so to speak. But if we’re feeling more positive, we see more beauty. And our creative self comes out to play. It’s quite something to think that we all live in the same world but our emotions determine what we see and how we experience it.

And instead of realising the world is just reflecting what’s inside, the temptation is to play the blame game. Gathering evidence to justify why we feel the way we do. Creating a story.  Giving away our power. Rather than seeing that it’s because we feel lousy we are necessarily experiencing more of the negatives in life.  And it can become a downward spiral.

Because these moods affect the way we think too. In a study out of UNSW, they talked to people who’d just been to the movies. Some people saw happy movies, some people saw sad or more aggressive movies. And then they asked them questions about things like the future, about their quality of life. Needless to say those who saw the happier movie were more optimistic than those who saw the sad or more aggressive movies.

And I’m sure everyone’s experienced  at some time or another how much how we feel influences our perception of ourselves and others…

So if you want the opportunities that come with a positive mindset, it’s important to get yourself around happier people and be aware of the mood you’re in when you’re making those important decisions. Because creating happiness is a choice that we make minute to minute and day to day.

So where can you bring greater happiness into your life?

 

Shit Happens

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Last week I was driving behind this truck working its way slowly up the hill. And just as I noticed the unfortunate creature sticking its head over the top (no doubt on the way to the abattoir), a river of effluent poured out the bottom. Completely spraying the front of my car. Of course, two choices presented themselves. And so I made the choice to laugh out loud and drop back a little to prevent a repeat performance. There’s nothing like a good laugh to diffuse a situation, is there.

They say S**T Happens! And it does. Sometimes piles of it. But what is more important than the stuff that happens to us, is the way we respond.  Because that’s something we do get to control, isn’t it. And we always have a choice.

This guy who calls himself The Happy Buddha tells a great story about two arrows. The first arrow – those things in life over which we have little or no control, can stab us in the heart. That’s just a part of life isn’t it. But what do we usually do? We pick up a second arrow and stab ourselves in the heart with the thoughts that run through our head. Pretty stupid, huh! The stories we create about the situation. Making our situation and how we feel, so much worse.

Losing a job, a failed relationship. The first arrow can be so many things, can’t it. And I’m not pretending they’re not painful. They are. And they are a part of being human. But what we tell ourselves about these experiences is so much more important. And over the years I’ve come to realise no matter what happens, I can take a moment to pause before responding. And I can check the thoughts running through my head. If I tell myself it’s all useless I will only increase the misery. But if I take the time to notice instead the opportunity that comes with each and every experience, and change the thoughts running through my head, then I give myself a gift.

So take the time to notice your thoughts. Notice your stories about the situations in your life that cause you pain. What are you telling yourself? Is it possible that you could you be telling yourself something better? How would that affect your day? How would that change your life…

Bird On The Wing

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I was taking a moment out last week. Sitting there, looking out across the paddocks. Carving myself out a peaceful interlude in the busy-ness of life. It’s important to do that, isn’t it.  And then it caught my eye. An eagle in all its magnificence. Soaring gracefully. Catching the currents. Almost a meditation just sitting there in its presence. Mesmerized by it’s beauty. It seemed effortless.

And I had to laugh. Because in the very next moment a bunch of black and white feathers grabbed my attention. A magpie. Working really hard. Wings beating furiously as it moved across the sky. It was really making very heavy weather of it all. If only it had realized.

Because it got me to thinking. Two birds. Both with the same gift of flight. But using this gift so differently. One choosing to soar while the other is caught in struggle. Blinded to all the other possibilities.

It’s an awesome gift that as humans we have a brain that allows us to make choices, isn’t it. Choices about how we’re going to do life. Because if we don’t like how it’s working, we can always make a better choice, can’t we.

I wonder what you could do right now to make your life a little easier…