Friday, June 24, 2016

Having a Positive Life Takes Work

As I wrote a while ago, I'm working to regain myself.  Happily, I'm making good strides!  Thought I'd share some of the things I've changed in my life and the differences I'm seeing in myself.

Each morning I open my heart and mind to the possibilities of the new day.  Prior, my attitude was much more negative as I never considered myself to be a morning person.  Now, I embrace the morning and welcome it with song!  I'm finding I awake more eagerly and am energized by getting moving and doing more things earlier.  It's a whole new way of looking at my days, with more positive energy and aligning my spirit with the dawn.

I make time to reflect on the beauty around me.  It's awesome how glorious are the colors in spring here in the mid-Atlantic region. Giving myself time to appreciate Earth's spectrum and the effects of various lighting just makes me glow with happiness.  It's impossible to hold on to negative thoughts and feelings when you're emerged in this beauty.

I sing!  To me, singing allows my very soul to soar up to the heavens.  I sing about anything my heart is feeling.  These songs are just for me, so I make up whatever I want - the important thing being the expression of my joy.  The more I sing, the more joy I get!

I take a daily walk.  More often than not, I've been able to get up from my desk for at least 30 minutes to get outside and move around.  This refreshes me so at the end of the day, I'm not completely worn out.  We recently welcomed a dog into our home, so he makes certain I get up (when I'm working out of my home office) and he's great company.  It's always made me happy to walk through the woods with a dog.  As a child, I would walk the neighborhood dogs (as we rarely had a dog of our own), so this connection is a link with my earlier and happier self.

I'm exercising and working on my health.  Three mornings a week I take a deep water aerobics class.  I'm feeling much stronger and vastly more fit as the result, and I've made new friends.  I've also taken steps to resolve a couple long-standing, nagging physical issues - ones that didn't require urgent medical attention, but never-the-less kept me from doing things.  It's amazing how one part of the body getting out of alignment can over time create issues in other parts.  I've learned by going to physical therapy how to walk properly and found I require a lift in one shoe to correct having one hip higher than the other.  No wonder my back has been hurting!  I'm so happy with this simple cure!

Volunteering.  I recently had an offer that would have prevented me from having enough personal time to keep doing my volunteer work.  While soul searching to make this important decision, it was this realization and the fact that people who now depend on me would be negatively impacted that led me to decide to not make a change.  It's no secret that people who volunteer get as much back as they give.  This is definitely true for me and I realize the premium I place on being able to give to my favorite charities and non-profits.

I'm enjoying this journey to rediscover myself.  I occasionally need to remind myself to not fall back into long-hewed patterns. I will continue to build lasting habits that support a positive life.  There's more work to do, but I feel like I'm well on my way to capturing my child-like curiosity, zeal for living, and spiritualism that gives me balance with the beating sound of nature.  These are my personal goals.  I am so excited to be closer than I've been since I was much younger.  Rather than mourn something as being lost, I choose to work to regain that spirit, to be authentic to myself!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Step One - My Journey to Reclaim Me

What do I want?

It's a hard question to answer because doing so means careful, deliberate soul searching.  Sure, people have canned answers they casually throw out when asked this question.  But, to truly know yourself well enough to have the real answer takes work.

I am about to begin a journey to learn about myself as I am today.  At this stage in my life, I need to overcome years of neglect and atrophy of my very core self.  As an adult, we need to take care of so many things in today's complicated lifestyle.  Education, career, marriage, children, etc. All energy consuming diversions from caring for my own "id." 

As a child, I spent a great deal of time alone because there weren't many other kids in our first neighborhood.  I amused myself and in doing so became a great friend with me. As the result, I was very self assured and dependable -- things I learned during this period of time when I leisurely thought about me and how I fit into my world.  It really was a special gift to know exactly what I thought about everything in my sphere of existence.  It was also when I learned to let the spirit lead me.  I am seeking that relationship with the spirit, whom I know will guide me once again.

All these years later, I need to reclaim myself from the impacts living life has had on me. I'm not exactly certain how to do this.  Of course, I could spend money on a therapist, but that's not what I'm looking for.  I could get a life coach, in fact I know a couple of fine ones.  Don't really think I need someone to tell me I'm okay and can achieve my goals... I need to start out as I did in the beginning.  Quietly reflective of how the world sounds in its natural form -- realigning with Earth's rhythm and energy.  Being in harmony with this pulse is simple, pure joy.

There's no structure to realign my core energy with the master rhythm of the planet.  It's going to be something I do every day.  I still hold that sense of pure joy from my childhood. I'm seeking to bring that self awareness to the forefront where I can channel this directed strength to do whatever I want to do.  I'm very excited to get started...

Friday, March 4, 2016

Level of Excellence

I work hard and I take pride in my work excellence.  I would never prepare a deliverable that was less so - the quality of my work reflects on me and my perception of who I'm doing this work for!  Generally, these days people seem to be unwilling to do whatever it takes to achieve a level of excellence.  So why that is.

It's hard to do excellent work

You must put in significant time and effort to create something that's complete, well constructed using top quality components, and is shined to the point where it gleams!  I could be talking about anything - building a quality piece of wooden furniture, baking a special dessert or creating a business proposal.  The principles are the same.  You must plan well, have all your ingredients/components at hand, and, work and rework the product until you have it just right!

It takes more time to do excellent work.

There's an old adage about anything worth doing is worth doing well.  Unfortunately, people's time is not as highly valued as it once was.  People are working harder than ever (measured by the hours they put in on the job) and yet the quality of their work is, for the most part, going down.  A direct result of not being given enough time to do the job properly.  How many times have you been asked for an estimate on how long it will take to get something done only to be asked if you can do it quicker.  Happens all the time.  Over the years, people become accustomed to being given less time to do a job and delivering less quality.  Another old saying is "good enough for government work!"  It's this attitude that sets-up the expectation:

lower work quality = less time spent working =  do more things in this time

Marketed as higher productivity and operational efficiency, it begets inferior workmanship.  Not only are the end products lacking, but the people who produced them start to think this is okay.  Is it okay for you to not get what you asked for or even paid to get?  We find ourselves overloaded and unable to put in the real time and effort when it's really required from time-to-time.  People need to push back and make it clear that:

less time = less quality = unhappy recipient

Now, if the recipient is your immediate supervisor, that may be fine.  But, if that recipient is getting an inferior proposal, it may well mean less business!  That's not okay.

It is very satisfying to do excellent work.

How many people do you know who are happy where they work?  Sadly, I think having time to spend on your given craft and getting that deep satisfaction that comes from doing a job well done is getting lost in the modern workplace.  I hate to end my day without feeling I accomplished something worthwhile.  Don't you?  This may be the most important reason to slow things down a bit and allow employees to adequately focus time and effort on producing higher quality results.  Those employees will stay around longer and they will tell everyone about the great place to work they work.  I call that a thing of beauty!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

70 Years of Love

My in-laws celebrated 70 years of marital bliss yesterday!

These dear people are a true example of how to live your life.  While they started out with very little, they worked hard to build a good life for their family.  Though they came of age at a time when the roles of women and men were clearly defined, they embraced helping each other with child rearing and household duties when it was not yet fashionable to do so.  My father-in-law worked multiple jobs to enable his wife to stay home with the children. He never complained about doing so, but saw this was just something he had to do.  My mother-in-law always tells me how her husband would come home late at night after finishing his second job of the day and would tend the crying baby to let her get her rest.  That's more than dedication, it's love!

Today, my in-laws are elderly and becoming frail, yet they still hold hands when they walk and they always are together.  My father-in-law helps bath and dress his wife of 70 years without complaint... I hear he powders her bottom to keep her feeling fresh and comfortable (they now need to wear "paper underwear.")  That's more than dedication, it's love!

My mother-in-law has short-term memory issues, so her husband does the daily cooking and laundry.  Every evening, he gives her ice cream because it's her favorite.  That's more than dedication, it's love!

On Sunday, Valentine's Day, we invited the family and some friends to celebrate with my in-laws their longevity and happily married life together.  One cousin brought a CD and played one of my in-law's favorite waltz... watching them dance to that song brought tears to every eye in the room.  That's more than dedication, it's love!

Cool Thing - Not!

Several people posted this today, and it was right on time!  This topic is hot again (see my previous post on Kissimple for just one example!)

I read an excellent article today - Toxic Relationships You Should Avoid Like the Plague that touched on this topic, but didn't really advise how to fix the problem.

Shame on organizational leaders for permitting this to happen!  As someone who has been responsible for large and small organizations, I believe it's up to me to create a healthy work environment.  Nothing taints the work place more than this problem -- the outright punishment of your good workers!

Shame on managers who take the easy way out by piling work on the people who are dedicated and will go the extra mile to deliver.

Shame on managers who don't walk around and see what's happening in their organizations!

Shame on managers who enable disruptive workers to capitalize on your inability to do your management job right!  Yes, it's your job, Mr./Ms. Manager, to ensure the work assignments are being done -- and being done right!   
Managing people is not an easy thing to do, but that's why we have managers.  If you find yourself in a position where your manager isn't doing their job, then I say file a complaint.  You have the right to say no when you are being piled with work others should be doing.  And, you need to document when this happens to you so you have proof that you aren't just another complainer, which the manager will attempt to use against you if you stand up for yourself in the workplace.

There's a word for this... bullying!  But, that's another topic for another post!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I'm in Control

I'm over my pity party!  (previous post)

I don't often allow other people to drag me down with their drama and negativity.  In fact, its so rare, this is only the second time in my life I can remember it happening.

Nothing has changed except I decided I'm not playing this game.  I'm in control of my life.  And, I'm really happy about this.  Unfortunately, the end results remain abysmal, but there's nothing I can do about changing what's been done.  So, I'm letting it go.

Unhappily, my feelings about the people involved have not changed.  I've lost them being in my life, a sad effect of their ugliness.  Hey, who am I kidding... they don't even care that our relationship has been damaged.  They can't deal with the impacts of what they do.  They've made selfish and irresponsible decisions that will have lasting detrimental outcomes for their parents.  I can't say I don't care about this.  I do, and I probably always will. 

Being sad and drowning in drama are different things.  It's okay to be sad about how things have turned out.  It's also sad that family can't deal with problems in a respectful manner.  It's sad to see grown children deny their part in failing to preserve the dignity of elderly people who can't defend themselves.  I've really learned a great deal about how ugly, selfish and compulsive people can be.  It's such a surprise to see family members for who they really are -- flawed human beings who need to adhere to their versions of reality at all costs regardless of the outcomes.

 For me, logic and fairness and duty are critical drivers for the decisions in my life.  Who would have thought anyone could vehemently fight these core values.  Guess I have learned another life lesson, which is this:  Nobody died, ignore the drama queens and get on with my own stuff!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Wasted Energy and Being Lost - Advice Please

I'm ashamed of myself.

Yes, it's true.  I've allowed other people's drama to devour my happiness and well-being.  The core of the matter lies with my steadfast belief in fairness and logic.  Thanks, Mom, you trained me well!

For the past year and a half, I've been embroiled in matters that ultimately affect the financial welfare of my beloved 90+ father- and mother-in-law.  In taking a position to uphold what is fair and logical, I've alienated my two sister-in-laws and enabled them to vilify me so my very standing in the family has been marginalized (at best.)

This has been very hurtful given my decades of involvement with my husband's family, and devotion to his aged and failing parents every weekend for the past two years.  Worse is how much damage this has done to my own happiness and well-being.  I'm finally at the point where I realize I'm more important to myself than fighting to be right in this ugly drama.

So, how to regenerate the positive energy that's been lost?

In thinking about this and doing some serious soul searching too, I realize that only I can control my behavior and master my emotions.  If I can't ignore it, then I must cut-off exposure to all of the in-law family drama.  Not much of a loss since they are being so nasty, while I have much to gain in reclaiming my happiness and peace of mind.

It's that last one -- peace of mind -- that's the catch for me.  I truly believe with all my heart and soul that my elderly in-laws are being taken advantage of and that their care and financial health is at risk.  However, there's not much I can do about it.  I've given my advice and have been told to "butt out!"  So hurtful is what's happening, this has become the daily topic of conversation between my husband and me, and at times even burdening our children.  This unhappy, dissatisfying negativity has to stop!  It's eating away at my soul!

Some would turn to prayer and put this in the hands of the Lord.  I was raised to believe the Lord helps those who help themselves, and why would I want to burden God with this nastiness!

No, I've got to fill my time, head and heart with things that are fulfilling and make me happy.  Sadly, I've concluded I  need to tune out my in-laws and leave their situation to my sisters-in-law to deal with, even if I believe their decisions are long-term harmful and driven by selfish intentions.  Obviously, I can't change their behaviors.  Since its so hard to watch, I guess I've got to remove myself from the environment and limit my visits with the old folks.

I really want to move away, start a new life, and leave them all behind...

Is that a childish reaction to being hurt or is that a good idea?

Still not sure.