Category Archives: excuses

Toss Those Lists and Dive into Something New

Somehow, rather unconsciously I believe, my resolve for this year became about doing instead of thinking about doing. While I have always been a list maker, believing this was the way to be productive, my attachment to making lists has gone by the wayside. Lists are about organization and getting things done. My new motto is more about process and finding ones self and purpose. While lists are not a bad thing if you are going out to do errands, what I’ve discovered is that they stand in the way of spontaneity and being in the moment; seeing what life brings and places in front of us. This change for me began with one of my favorite authors, Mark Nepo, and his book “Things That Join The Sea And The Sky. Philosopher and poet, Mr. Nepo gives us words that are soft and gentle, but still profound and wrenching and life shaking. His short essay “Quieting the Thieves” inspired me to start changing the way I was living. I read a little Mark Nepo every day and find him inspiring on many levels. If you do read some of his work, let us know how you like it and if it has inspired you!
We are given lists and steps we need to take throughout much of our lives. Since kindergarten there has been order placed upon us. School, work, marriage, kids, more work, more education; all signs tells us if we do things in a certain order we will have happy and successful lives. If that is true, then why is it that so many people I know and talk to (including myself) are still searching for something. It isn’t that we haven’t been successful or haven’t raised great kids or enjoyed the work we have done. All good…except? What is it we are supposed to be doing? I hear this from people who love their jobs and from people who are looking to make a change. It has nothing to do with money or “success”. It has everything to do with our mortality and our wish to leave a positive mark on the world and feel the deep peace that knowing our purpose provides.
For me, the notion of doing and not thinking about doing has freed me from living in the world of excuses. How often do you find yourself saying; “I would love to try that!”, “Wouldn’t that be fun”, “I want to ________(fill in the blank with your own desire)” Do it! With so much information out there it is easy to get mired down in the research of something we want to do, which can kill any initial joy. Just try something, have some fun. Always wanted to draw? Grab a sketchbook and pencil and go outside. Want to write. Grab a pen and a piece of paper and write something down. Doesn’t matter what. Write a letter to someone. Write down a dream. Write down how the backyard is looking as spring approaches. Movement will create movement in the same way that letting thoughts stay as thoughts creates stagnation. Don’t hide your work. Show it to your partner or send it to a friend. Doesn’t matter how “good” it is. Be proud of yourself. Sharing will make you keep engaged. When we start doing, we start becoming aware. We see what is happening at that moment; what is the universe giving us and showing us. Don’t overthink it. If you find something engaging and you want to learn more then go for it. But before you go on Youtube or start looking at books and classes and supplies, just have fun.
Doing helps us get closer to our purpose and to understanding this life we are given. There is no failure other than not giving something new and different a shot and seeing how it opens your eyes and where it takes you. Remember, it may not be exactly what you try that is the purpose in your life; but the awareness you develop, the people you meet and being curious enough to follow a path it suggests may lead you to something much bigger then you ever believed possible.
If you have a story about finding an activity that has inspired you and lead you down a path that perhaps you weren’t expecting please share it with us!

Excuses…Banish Them And Start Facing your fears.

 

Today’s topic is not likely to be enthusiastically received by you, my readers. So before reading on, take a deep breath and try to finish the post without a “yeah, but…” right off the bat.

Excuses are use for a myriad of situations.  They make us feel better or ease our conscience, supposedly relieving us of blame when we don’t fulfill an obligation or don’t make progress forging ahead with a dream or goal.  But the relief is only temporary and sooner or later we need to let go of our dependance upon them if we want to live a life of joy and freedom.  Excuses allow us to not face up to the real reason we don’t get where we are wanting to go, and become disenchanted with trying to transform our life. And I’m betting that most of you know the real reason.  It is fear, plain and simple. That is the big ugly monster in the closet. And until we stop making excuses, fear will lurk in the background dumping rain all over your parade and happiness in your decision to change your life. Little scary isn’t it?  The only way to get past fear is to stop with the excuses. Every time you start to make an excuse that keeps you stuck you need to stop yourself and re-focus. Remember, small baby steps will get you there.

While the list of excuses is endless, the two that are used the most often should be no surprise to us. They are time and money. So how do you begin to banish not only these excuses, but others that are holding you back?

If you have been reading my prior posts and done some soul searching and work to discover what it is that you want to change in your life, then you hopefully have created a mini-plan or outline to help you attain your goal. Remember my last post about setting goals rather than expectations? I’m hoping you all took that to heart and moved your dreams from fantasy to acknowledging that you need to start doing some work to make them happen. Excuses will only prevent you from doing this work and leave you in a stagnant situation.

The more focused you can be in pursuing your goals and the more they become a part of your daily activities, the easier it is going to be to rid yourself of these two excuses. There are many ways to make your dreams the focus of your daily life and still be productive at your day job or other obligations. It may sound silly, but list them out and tack them on the fridge…on the wall in front of your desk. Use them as a bookmark or keep them in your wallet purse. Make an acronym out of them if you are able. Whenever you are having a down or discouraging moment just repeat them to yourself. Have faith in yourself and what you can accomplish.

A simple pen and paper exercise can help you begin to release both the time and money excuse from your mind.  Just for a day or two record the time you spend on all your activities. This means Facebook and social media, exercising, just sitting, cooking, work, reading or anything else you spend your day doing. Do you see any areas where there could be improvement? Do the same thing with money. Record every dime you spend for a couple of days. From bills to coffee to parking meters, to online orders, add it all up. See any places you could cut back.
While this is a relatively simple exercise, it can lead to many questions and force you to look at your entire life. While monetary obligations are real when we own homes, cars, and other material goods, are all these things worth the cost and time it takes to keep them? Only you can answer this question for yourself. Do you love your job. You may love your work and your dream may involve a goal that uses the skills you have now. So time spent at work might be valuable to you. Then you need to look at how some time periods may be used more productively so you have time to focus on your goals. If you are spending time doing things you don’t love, or working to have material things that don’t bring you joy, this is the time to work towards changing that and creating the life you desire.

I also want to recommend a blog post to you on this subject. It will challenge the resistance you have to letting go of the money excuse. It is by Shawn Blanc, one of my favorite bloggers. You can find him at Shawnblanc.net.  The blog post Fear not Money can be found by clicking on the archives.