Gratitude

What sucks you dry?

What steals your energy so hard that you are a shell for too many moments of your day?

Negativity abounds. You can find PILES of it if you go looking.

The news.

Social media.

Paperwork.

Politics.

Reality TV shows.

Your coworkers.

Gossip.

Family.

Snarky friends.

Your own brain. 

The list goes on. 

And on.

So the question becomes what do you have control over?

What can you choose minimize?

I'll leave you with that thought and see myself out.

3 Things You Can Do Right Now to Kick More Ass

Why are lists so seductive? 

Quick distilled information. That's why!

So here you go I have refined for you THREE things you can do right now to kick more ass: 

Number 1: Breathe

I've said it before. I will say it again. Take a moment to pause and look away from the thing you are doing (aka reading this) take a deep breath in, feel your belly expand, your shoulders expand, hold it one moment, and let it go for a count of 10. Good job.

There are so many ways to breathe, but just taking a deep breath like this will center your body and create a tangible force field of awesome around you. Don't believe me? Try it.

Bonus points for doing a cycle of five.

Number 2: Focus on the thing you are doing

I know, super sexy. 

Seriously though (after reading this), stop, think, what is the MOST IMPORTANT thing you could be doing RIGHT NOW? Got it?

Cool.

Now do that thing. Shut all the everything else down and set a timer for 20 minutes. Use an app, use your phone, go analog and look at a clock. Just - at this moment - put 20 minutes of focused time on the thing you need to do.

Focus is like magic pixie dust. Enjoy. 

Number 3: Write a friend a note

You have probably seen the Upworthy or heard about random acts of kindness - or maybe not. No matter. 

Your mission is to connect.

Be slightly vulnerable. 

Make sure those out there know you care. 

So pick someone you enjoy, someone you respect, someone who makes you smile, and drop them a line. Email will do, but can you imagine what getting an out of the blue physical card would be like in today's world?

Trees be damned* a card is pretty legit.

***

And there you have it my quick and dirty list of things YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW! RIGHT NOW to uplevel your day.

*I kid, I love trees

Give thanks.

I love me some gratitude and turkey.

So today is pretty much a win.

Gratitude is the best. It helps calm your soul when you can appreciate what you have rather than reflect on what you want.

When I feel unsettled in life I often think "QUICK ANNETTE! WHAT'S GOOD?!" and I list in my brain some rad moments, it calms me down and I feel... I feel good about living life.

Today I am grateful for SO MANY OF MY FRIENDS. I have had so many HONEST and supportive conversations recently - it has been inspiring.

I am grateful for the changing leaves.

I am grateful for sitting here and writing this while sipping coffee.

I am grateful to you reading my words.

I am grateful for podcasts.

I am grateful for MEAT MEAT MEAT.

I am grateful for bacon and the magical way it can make kale taste. 

I am grateful for FaceTime and the ability to call my parents on it.

I am grateful for the friends I made years ago in the Netherlands.

I am grateful for complex relationships.

Gosh. I could go on... and actually I think I will, but not here in this post. I think I will write my thanks out to exhaustion and send some notes to friends.

What are you thankful for?

Surrender

Stop the noise

So. I was on the bus heading to meet a friend and listening to a podcast (this is my life in a nutshell - podcasts and walking or busing).

I'd recently discovered Strangers (which is great and if you like narrative I highly recommend it), the episode I was on was called Falling Slowly.

Man.

You should check it out.

The main character, Lyena, was so in her head so busy, busy, busy thinking she wasn't able to be present.  She wasn't really there. She and her boyfriend go for a walk and all she wants is to not engage with him so she can be alone with her thoughts. She just wants to think all of her thoughts and not be with this person. 

Can you relate to this? That desire to just have the quite to think, think, think? 

Anywho. To get away she climbs a tree.

And she falls.

As she is falling her brain clears and she just knows there is nothing she can do, so, she surrenders. She lets go to the inevitability of the fall...

and time slows down...

and her thoughts stop...

And she can see the beauty of the tree, the details of the bark, the leaves on the branches - the way she describes this moment is so beautiful I teared up.

When she lands her spinal cord is severed and she is rendered completely and wholly paralyzed from the waist down. The rest of the story is about her recovery and her coming into her own in this new body. 

It is awful that it took such a monumental occurrence for her to wake up to her life (like really awful) but, the point of her story was that she wouldn't trade it. 

So many of us shut out the world. So many of us want to be left alone to our thoughts. So many of us are anxious to get to the next thing. That we are never really present. Never really IN our life.

And then what?

That is what I took away from this story. The power of choosing to be present. Of choosing to engage. Of choosing to surrender. 

 

Build a habit, change your life

I am a big fan of habits.  Small shifts for lasting change = my jam. Time goes by too fast and it is easy to get lost and not accomplish what you set out to do.

This is why a habit is a beautiful thing.

Once it is established it takes no willpower (a valuable resource) to complete.

The most impactful habit I built in 2013 was a practice around gratitude.  Gratitude is cool because it helps you look at the world differently.  I think it gives me space to be less reactive, to be able to handle stress better, and to enjoy life more.

All it took was a few minutes a day.

I put a journal and pen on my dresser right next to my bed.  Every night before I went to bed I wrote down 3 things I was grateful for - they could be big or small, general or specific, it didn't matter.  The point was that I did it, that I wrote it down, that I was consistent.  I liked doing it at night because even if I had a crappy day I could find something that went right like a beautiful sky - that I was breathing - my internet connection - anything really.

Try it out, see if you notice a change.  A habit doesn't need to be big to be effective, it just needs to be consistent.