Picture by thatbluepuppy
I’ve heard several blogs talking about picking a word of the year for your New Year’s resolution. I really like the idea, but last year I just couldn’t narrow down my choice to one. This year I’ve got it – my word is FREEDOM.
Freedom to make mistakes. Freedom to change my mind. Freedom to be silly. Freedom to do what I want to do. I tend to get way too caught up in doing what I “should” do. Going to work, paying my bills, cooking, cleaning, and all that stuff. Which is fine in it’s own way, but I spend more time on what I HAVE to do, instead of what I WANT to do.
I’m giving myself PERMISSION to have the freedom in my life that I envy in the lives of others. The freedom to CHOOSE to make time for the things I’m missing out on. Going on more trips, eating at new restaurants, learning new ways of making money so I can afford the things I want.
Freedom is allowing me to stop complaining about my life. I’m free to find a new job that is more align with my passion. I’m free to try dressing in a new way and even overhaul my whole wardrobe if I want to. Lately I’ve been trying many new foods and finding that my taste buds have changed and I enjoy flavors I didn’t before. Freedom allows me to say, “I’m different today than I was yesterday – and that’s WONDERFUL!”
My own inner critic was holding me back far more than any real-life criticism I received. If a person told me I couldn’t do it, I’d just say – “Yeah right –watch me!.” If I told myself I couldn’t do it, I was convinced that I was a smart person and I must know what I was talking about! By focusing on FREEDOM, I know that I’m free to change my mind, try again, or completely revise my old ideas. This focus word is helping me put things into perspective.
So what is your word for the year? And how does it help you? Share your ideas with me.
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Today is Gratitude Day. I’ve always loved writing down things I’m grateful for and then looking back at the happy memories later. It also helps you focus on the positive things in your life when things aren’t so grand. Taking a moment to reflect on the good things in life helps make me a happier person. Here are a few good things from this weekend and today:
I took a 3 day long weekend and was off yesterday. I’m grateful for all the rest I got (up to 12 hours of sleep in one night!) And I’m glad to have a shorter work week as a result. I’m grateful for the sunny days I enjoyed and for the quiet and peacefulness of the mountains which I love so much. I enjoyed finding the one apple on the new apple tree – it was really yummy. I’m grateful for neighbors that let us eat some of the pears on their tree – double yummy. Plus we made homemade blizzards this weekend that were just as good as Dairy Queen. (Enjoy those summer perks while you still can.)
A list of things I’m grateful for today:
- That I work indoors out of the heat.
- That I have a job where I work at my own pace.
- I’m glad I remember to get my stuff ready the night before so I don’t have to rush in the morning. ( I like having time to wake-up before work.)
- I’m glad I’ve updated my book list this week so I know which books to get from the library. (I’m a big book lover so having a list of what you need in each series is essential!)
- I’m happy to have accomplished a bunch of to-do items this weekend.
- I’m super-excited that tomorrow is the start of fall. Summer’s great, but I love that cool, crisp fall air, the changing leaves and drinking hot cocoa when it’s chilly.
- I’m glad I’m learning to practice relaxing more and not letting problems affect how I feel. (Though I have to practice this one a lot.)
- I’m grateful my dog in is good health even though she’s 14 years old.
- I’m glad I get to listen to a variety of music every day. With my MP3 player and satellite TV I can be as eclectic as I want.
- And so on. . .
And yes, much of this stuff are things I was grateful for before. But isn’t it nice when you can just sit down and think for a few minutes and come up with a list of things to be happy about? It definitely improves my mood and perspective. Plus there’s always a few things you forgot about or didn’t mention that you think of later. That’s like bonus happiness points. Gratitude Day reminds us that we really do have a lot to be happy about, if only we sit down and take a minute to appreciate it.
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Picture by Express Monorail
Where does inspiration come from? How does one find motivation, stimulation or encouragement when they need it?
Having lately felt very un-inspired and about creative as a block of cement, this was a topic of interest. So I started with what I already knew – where inspiration isn’t. It doesn’t come when you’re tired. You won’t feel excited or motivated when you have a headache or feel distracted by pain or illness. And inspiration doesn’t show up if you are overwhelmed, or don’t have any room in your schedule to stop and breathe.
Luckily, inspiration is like the sun – even when you can’t see it, it’s not totally gone; it’s just hidden behind the clouds. Ideas, creativity, and innovation come from everywhere. You can see a red sports car drive by and appreciate the sleek lines and color. It might inspire a sleek red satin dress design or a manufacturer to produce a shiny red TV. (Why are TV’s all black or silver anyway? Wouldn’t a bright blue TV look cool? What about a yellow color to match your kitchen? It’d be fun right?)
Inspiration comes when you’re relaxed and comfortable. During a long hot shower, right before bed, or while cloud-watching lying on the grass. Creativity is a state of mind. It’s when you relax your point of view enough to allow a new reality to emerge.
A choreographer could see a new dance move in the swaying of tree limbs in the wind, a photographer could see a new vantage point while cart wheeling upside-down with his kids. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing – inspiration is all around you.
Some other things that hinder inspiration are:
- Narrow boundaries or thinking.
- Too much noise or interference from the outside world.
- Stiffness in body and mind.
- Looking for only ONE right answer.
- Listening to your critics. (Or believing that they’re right.)
- A serious frame of mind.
Some things that help inspiration are:
- A light frame of mind. Open up and be playful with your thoughts.
- Substitution. Thinking outside of the bos. (Using a butter knife in place of a screwdriver.)
- Seeing the forest past the trees. Keeping your possibilities open. There is more than one path to success.
- A notebook. You’ll get more useless ideas than good ones, but keeping track of them can help see connections important to making your project work.
- Flow. Letting your mind drift from one thought to another. Another word for this is brainstorming.
- Lots of outside stimulation and activity.
- A quiet space to sit and contemplate. (Whichever works for your purpose.)
Places to find inspiration:
- TV. Try watching some commercials with the sound off. See if you can figure out what they’re selling.
- Nature. Look at the sheer variety of creatures. Birds alone go from small songbirds to majestic eagles and the over-size ostrich. The colors in a simple leaf can vary from pale yellow to deep green. Just sitting in your yard can provide hours of contemplation.
- Music. Let you thoughts roam as you listen to some instrumental music.
- The opposite. Try thinking of the exact opposite of whatever doing. See if trying to accomplish the opposite goal gives you insight on how to achieve your true desire.
- Children. Ask a kid how they would do something. Even if you can’t use it, it’ll probably open your mind to new ideas.
- Movies. What advice might Shrek give on this idea? How about Sherlock Holmes or Chuck Norris?
What are your favorite tips for finding inspiration? Share your thoughts in the comments section and help others GET INSPIRED!
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