What Went Right?

It is familiar territory, going over problems, talking about what went wrong. We are good at dissecting our failures, short-comings, how we could improve this or that. It can be a habit, a default setting. We take turns relating our recent set backs or screw-ups. We say things like, “You are not going to believe this awful mess I am in,” explaining in detail how we made a real hash of things. Or, “this really terrible thing happened,” and we launch into the telling of how we have been wronged. It is useful to go over mistakes or bad things that have happened to avoid repeats. However, it can add to feelings of anxiety and depression, especially if this is the primary way of processing events. It has to been done sometimes, this going over of what went wrong but, here is a thought about the counterbalance. The recalling of what went right.

In last week’s Brain Pickings, the book, Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, by Dr Martin Seligman, is noted as a great source for simple exercises to increase happiness. One of which counteracts our nature to talk about the bad things of the day, by practicing paying attention to the good. Seligman calls it the What-Went-Well or Three Blessings exercise.

What-Went-Well: at the end of the day take ten minutes to write down three things that went well and why they went well. It doesn’t have to be a big momentous event. It could be simple things that felt positive but, it is important to note why. Here are some examples from Flourish.

“Next to each positive event, answer the question “Why did this happen?” For example, if you wrote that your husband picked up ice cream, write “because my husband is really thoughtful sometimes” or “because I remembered to call him from work and remind him to stop by the grocery store.” Or if you wrote, “My sister just gave birth to a healthy baby boy,” you might pick as the cause … “She did everything right during her pregnancy.”

Writing about why the positive events in your life happened may seem awkward at first, but please stick with it for one week. It will get easier.”

It is similar to a gratitude list, though goes a step further in recognizing the why and how of what worked. Seligman assures we will be “less depressed, happier, and addicted to this exercise six months from now.” So, here it goes…

What went well for me today: I had a great time with my friends, because I decided to reschedule my

Feeding the Birds

Feeding the Birds

week and go to the movies with them. I also woke up with out pain in my shoulder because I have been diligent about my physical therapy. And the birds at the feeder are reminding me of spring. My husband always keeps the feeder full of seed so that we can enjoy watching the birds. He is good like that.

I look forward to hearing what went well for you today.

Peace & Love,

Lisa

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Searching for the State of Better: Self-Help is for Suckers

I know, the title is inflammatory and I am clearly going for the cheap pull for readership. You can help me out by sharing this post with a friend you think might like what I’m putting down here. I can’t promise that it will improve the titles. But, it will make me feel warm and fuzzy. So, thank you for that.

Anyway, Searching for the State of Better: Self-help is for suckers. Hear me out. The phrase self-help implies that one is broken, messed up, in need of help- nothing wrong with needing help, feeling broken or messed up. We have all been there, may be there now, and no doubt will have low moments in life come around again. And the pursuit of a State of Better is noble and human and leads to really good stuff. This is life kid. We are all on a path of progress. The key is how we frame these times when we are reaching for more or when we feel less than Awesome. I’m wondering if there is another way to talk about this seeking. Can we stop calling it self-help? What if we called it something else? Instead of thinking that a situation or person is in need of fixing or helping maybe try shifting into empowerment mode. This subtle shift in labeling from self-improvement to self-empowerment can be huge in how challenges are tackled. Imagine reframing the ‘need for improvement’ to ‘it is a good time to tap into my resources’. A shift from, ‘I am, this is, screwed up and in need of fixing’ to ‘I’d like to do better. I’d like this to be better. What is available around me to help make this happen?’ And I know the second option is kind of long and harder to say but, it is powerful. It is natural to want a State of Better, now what do I have around me to go to there?

My road map to State of Better

Badass road map to the State of Better.

Author and Mega entrepreneur, Danielle LaPorte, beautifully sums up this shift in thinking in her blog post Why Self-improvement Makes You Neurotic. On the subject of striving for the State of Better, she asks “Rather than doing whatever it is that you do to ease, mitigate and transform those states of being as acts of “self improvement” and “getting fixed” or “making better,” what if you approached those rituals and remedies as ways of getting to your power?” It is not out of weakness that a person reaches out or reaches up. There is great strength in asking for help. It takes courage to seek guidance. Curiosity, hope and creativity drive people to whisper, speak, shout, ‘How can I make this better?’ It is how we think about this process that makes all the difference.

Imagine, if at the end of a difficult week, when you are feeling run down, low energy, depressed even and you put the call out to friends. Help, I need fixing. Imagine if you thought of that call not as a distress call but, as access to your tools, resources, power. Call your friends, get cozy with the latest issue of Oprah, go to yoga, whatever you do to feel well. This is your mojo. This is Wonder Twin powers activate time. This is I have all of these awesome things in place to pull from when I need support and I am going to use them time. And when these times come around, and they do for us all, know this: You are one smart, amazing, loved cookie. And you are not alone. Just ask yourself this question: What can I do in this moment to tap into My resources? And then, of course, Do it.

Peace & Love,

Lisa

Love Baby, That’s Where It’s At

love lettersLove letters. Write them. Send them to your best most sweetest friend, your Mom, your dog, your lover, yourself. Sit for a bit and write some sappy, heartfelt, honest shit about love and then HIT SEND. Do it. You will feel wonderful. The person who gets the letter will feel cherished. And that is some good, good stuff to put out into the world.

Below is a prompt from Modern Hepburn.modern hepburn Tell me how you get along with this assignment. Love, Badass Snowflake. xoxo

Put The Kettle On, I’m Sad.

I think sometimes we just need to complain. Take a break and let it all out, these are the things I could do without (Ha, Tears for Fears song). Seriously, I could do without the cold, grey winter and the throbbing pain from this shoulder injury that makes it hard to sit and do my work, hard to sit and not do my work, hard to sleep, hard to walk. Things, well, things feel a little hard right now. And, it’s no good pretending otherwise. I’m fed up and I know you get to that place, too, sometimes. And I know we feel that we should get our action pants on and do something about it- anything. Snap out of it. Stiff upper lip and all that. Come on, what about the Magic Glitter Snow!

photo (33)Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a time to rise. There is definitely a time to give yourself a stern talking to and make a move. But, here’s the thing. There is also a time to feel blue. There is a time to put the tea kettle on and sit with it, see and feel the mess all around you. Life can be hard. It can kick your ass. It has happened, is happening, will happen again. People get knocked down. (That’s right, Chumbawamba) When we don’t acknowledge the down times or try to deny the slump or distract ourselves to avoid feeling blue, then we miss an opportunity to learn and grow. And we miss an opportunity to take care of ourselves. And we diminish the chance to really appreciate the get back up part.

I practiced some self-care this weekend. It went like this: My shoulder was killing me. I had spent hours working on the taxes. The winter is wearing on me. I am feeling truly fed up and generally lacking in joy. And this made me feel sad. How did I get here? This is not my beautiful life. (Hello Talking Heads song.) I just felt miserable. And I let myself feel this way. I didn’t try to talk myself out of it. I didn’t admonish myself for being sad. I just thought, hmmm, I feel pretty low. I made myself a cup of tea and got a hot water bottle, put a movie on and cuddled up in my favorite blanket and softened towards my mood. I made some space for my sadness which allowed me to let go of resisting. When I let go, there was a natural easing up. Acceptance was my key to a glimpse at a brighter mood. I wasn’t back-flipping with ecstasy (that should be a song) but, I felt comforted in just being where I was…a sad, sore, little mess on the couch with her hot water bottle, waiting for spring and trusting that it will come. And that little glimmer, can sometimes be enough for a smile and a smile with a cup of tea, can lead to all sorts of good. I hope that this post finds you with spring in your heart, tea in your hand and a smile on your face. And if it doesn’t, well, put the kettle on and trust that it will pass.

Peace & Love,

Lisa