Create A Holiday
Well, folks. We made it to the last week of March. I’ve heard the lambs have been gamboling about bleating something that sounds like, “Ding dong, the lion’s gone, as they celebrate Spring.” You may, or may not, have read in a previous blog that tomorrow, March 26 is Make Up Your Own Holiday Day. Having a day, even several days for celebration is important to our health and happiness. As Oprah has said, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”
Moments of celebration make us pause and be mindful, and that boosts our well-being. According to social psychology researcher Fred Bryant and others, when we stop to savor the good stuff, we buffer ourselves against the bad and build resilience - and even mini-celebrations can plump up the positive emotions which make it easier to manage the daily challenges that cause major stress.
When we have something to look forward to, or look ahead to we feel more optimistic.
From Chris Johnston who works in the area of the psychology of resilience and sustainable happiness:
"I’m just thinking about how important food is. Without food, we wither away. Food is nourishment. We also have needs for psychological nourishment or psycho-spiritual nourishment, emotional nourishment. I see celebration as one of those things that nourishes us psychologically, emotionally, spiritually. I was thinking about this also in terms of how important celebration is in keeping us going.
One of the thought blocks that people bump into sometimes is the voice that says “well what’s the point of doing this?” What celebration does is it gives us an answer to that. I think of it as helping shifting us from a going nowhere story where we feel we’re making no progress and have no direction to what I think of as a going somewhere story, where we feel that we’re on the way somewhere because we’re celebrating and marking important steps along the way.
I have decided that, for me, March 26 will be Celebrate the Little Things in Life Day. Some day we may look back and find those little things were actually the big things. I also hope March 26 will remind me in case I forget to savor and celebrate the small wins and pleasures in life. There are, you know, as many special occasions as we choose to celebrate.
Comments are welcomed.
To Do Or Not To Do
In our current fast-paced, ADD society people are busier than ever. We are in the midst of information overload, continuously evolving technology, devices replacing human connection for example. What comes with all the busyness are exponentially growing to-do lists which can look more like spread sheets. There are some strategies for dealing with all those to-do’s. I’ll share a few recommended by the experts. Then I’ll offer up my brilliant idea.
Let’s begin with the 80/20 rule. 80 percent of the value is contained
in only 20 percent of the items. If you have fifty tasks spread over the various projects you are actively working on, ten of them will likely be more valuable to you right now than all the others combined.
The key to effective prioritization is to apply the 80/20 rule and discover the 20 to 30 percent of your projects and tasks that will give you the most value and the greatest returns on your effort.
A second method is to put dates next to each item for when completion is necessary. Obviously, take care of the one with the shortest time line first.
A third suggestion is not to try to do everything on the list in one fell swoop. That’s a recipe for frustration and overwhelm. Select one item on the list that you determine is important. Then have the mindset to just begin. Avoid thoughts that it must be completed. Just begin and you will be surprised how much actually gets accomplished.
Okay. Now here’s my genius idea. Along with your to-do list, create a to-don’t list. Make a list of all the things you will absolutely not do. You know. Things like vacuuming all the ceilings; alphabetizing all of your foods and spices; sorting out all those items saved over the past umpteen years because you never know. Surely, you can come up with your own list of things never to do.
We often get caught up taking ourselves and our lives too seriously. This is not to deny the serious aspects of life and what we may have to deal with. It is about discovering ways to play, indulging in a bit of whimsy, finding some creative ways to lighten up our load and ourselves.
“Sometimes our stop doing list needs to be longer than our to-do list.” Patti Digh
Comments are welcomed.
A Fourth Place
Perhaps you have heard about the third place in our lives. The first place is home. The second place is work. The third place is a place for community and socializing. It is a welcoming space that cultivates essential social experiences in the company of like-minded people.
On a similar note, third places are informal. They don’t have set agendas. It’s not a meeting, but a coming together. People come as they are, when they want, and leave just as easily. Conversation is the main activity.
Third places have “regulars.” If you go often enough, you become one. (Think of the show Cheers — a third place is “where everybody knows your name.”)
Third places can be a coffee shop, a pub, a place you can just drop in at any time and be a part of a welcoming, supportive, like-minded group. I would have to say a coffee shop is my third place of choice. What is yours?
Recently, I came to the conclusion that I might actually have a fourth place. That place is the Lemon And Lavender Gift Boutique. One day my friend and I stopped in to check out new wares and say hello to Antonella, the proprietor. As we meandered around the store, I became aware of a familiar feeling. It was the feeling of enchantment. I’d nearly forgotten. Those Lemon Blossom and Lavender flower fairies must still be sprinkling fairy dust. The store is a kaleidoscope of class, charm, whimsy, spirituality, novelty, sweetness, fun. We soon finished examining all the new items. Not wanting to leave empty-handed, I purchased a little something for one of those pop-up occasions that require a gift.
Continuing along our way, I realized something. The day had been a difficult one, but that visit to L & L really lifted my spirits. It occurred to me that when the going gets tough, this tough one needs to go to Lemon & Lavender as an antidote for the miseries.
We all need a healing space. Maybe it’s a private location, a magic cupboard, a secret garden - a fourth place. Thus, Lemon And Lavender is now my designated healing fourth place. Have you discovered yours?
Comments are welcomed.
March came in like the proverbial lion. From what I can tell, Leo has no intention of moving on any time soon. What do those ground hogs know anyway? Besides the wild life report, there is a lot of stuff that goes on in March. Tomorrow, for instance is Cinco De Marcho. It begins March 5 and goes until March 17. Yup. It’s a real thing. Look it up.
Then March 14 is National Pi Day. Some of us like to acknowledge the day by eating a piece of our favorite pie. If you are a mathematician you could measure the entire pie by 2PR or PD, of course. Then divvy up the pie using fun formulas and algorithms.
Moving right along to the Ides of March on the 15th. You might want to hunker down in your residence until it passes. You know what happened to Julius Caesar.
Two days later on the 17th, the world turns green and everyone becomes Irish. As noted above Cinco De Marcho morphs into St. Patrick’s Day.
As if that isn’t enough, March Madness begins that week. For non- sports fans, March Madness is the annual NCAA’s big basketball tournament. It’s a whirlwind one-and-done kind of tournament with brackets and Cinderella teams and hoops fans going a little nuts.
In the midst of the Madness March 20 presents us with an awesome triple-header. Part one is the Spring equinox. Hopefully incessant bleating of lambs would have sent the snow, ice and wind-spewing lion slinking off to some Artic tundra. It is all about the lambs by then.
Part two is International Earth Day. The earth needs our help to ensure our children and grandchildren have a habitable environment in which to live.
Part three (my personal favorite) is the United Nations International Day of Happiness. Let’s spread happiness. Even a simple smile can make someone’s day.
If none of the above tickle your fancy, you could go with March 26 which is Make Up Your Own Holiday Day. Yup. It’s a real thing. Look it up.
Comments are welcomed.