I don’t like Sunday (nights) (D9)

There’s a song, I don’t like Mondays. And I guess that’s at the core of why I don’t like Sunday nights.

I’ve been sitting here watching mindless TV, doing all sorts of things except what I should be doing. Eating chocolate. Checking Facebook. And I realized — hmm, these are all basically signs of passive-aggressive behavior, with the unfortunate victim being, um, myself.

Well, they say the first step to recovery is to identify the problem…

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Some days (D8)

Yeah, some days. Are just right.

This was one of those. Nothing momentous happened. But it was a day that flowed. Well, after a slight glitch, which actually got me into the flow, a path that diverged from the initial one plotted but that worked out perfectly.

Sometimes you just have to let go and let the road take you where it will.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

Playing in the city (D7)

Last night, I had fun. It wasn’t ball-busting, get out there and dance on the tables. It was a go experience a totally different type of life fun. (Well, dancing on the tables would have been totally different, but that’s not what happened.)

I “follow” a man named Peter Shankman on Facebook. He is a force of nature–his website gives the most wonderful, honest, and informative self-description of him that I can imagine. He’s also a very big influencer–what he says gets paid attention to by a LOT of people. Oh, and he built a web-based business and sold it within a few years for millions, so he’s pretty savvy, too. And he skydives whenever possible.

He wrote a book called Nice Companies Finish First; it promotes his theory that the world of business is going to come back to focusing on good customer service. (He has given public shout-outs to companies who have gone above and beyond for him–hence giving the companies great good PR for doing their job well.) Last week, he invited people who wanted to come to his book launch to email him for an invite–there were 25 spots open. The trick was, you had to figure out how to email him!

Well, I figured it out, and a couple of days later an invite showed up in my inbox! Now, sit back and ponder this: He offered this opportunity to 25 people on FB (and others on Twitter) who he very likely doesn’t know personally (at least in my case), who might have nothing tangible to offer him (though he’s getting a blog out of me and a lot of tweets last night), and who are basically “just” fans. That’s pretty classy. And self-confident, though I don’t think he’s in short supply on that!

And it was a class affair. It was held in a new trendy hotel (with robotic delivery of your luggage to your room, among other things), in its own room, with open bar and passed hors d’ouvres (the meatballs were fabulous, and I’m not a meatball person), and it had–him. He was gracious, greeting everyone there personally, going around cluster to cluster, whether he knew you or not. He gave an exuberant (and pretty short) speech, gave away door prizes (two Mets and Yankees fans were thrilled), and made us all feel like we should be there.

He was a shining example of the principles in his book–which, coincidentally, he seems to live by.

I walked into the room towards the beginning of the reception. I realized I could either sit on the couch and try to look cool and not talk to anyone, or search out people who were clearly there on their own and strike up a conversation. The opening line was easy: People who didn’t have a cohort were staring at their phones or iPads! So I gently admonished them for reading when they should be networking, and we started talking.

I met a creative director for an ad agency, a tech company CEO that had gotten a shout-out from Shankman for their product a month before, a mad tweeter who gave me a quick tutorial and who I connected to the tech guy (she and I had both had the same idea, that his product would be perfect for dating networks). And in between I got my champagne glass refilled!

All in all, it was a class act of an evening. Thanks to one class act of a man.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Experimenting with Life (Day 5-6)

Yes, I didn’t write anything HERE yesterday, though I did write–just not for public consumption. I’ve realized that when I’m at work, I tend to get morose, depressed, overly self-judgmental, highly reactive emotionally–obviously, I need to change my work environment. And I’m working on that, but it’s a long-term process (at least as long as the company stays in business…).

I linked to a blog on Simple Mindfulness this morning that was titled Experimenting with Failure. I expected it to be the usual commentary on how you have to fail to move forward, but I was jolted out of my complacency by the very beginning, where she said,

I don’t believe in failure.  The word doesn’t have a purpose or meaning in my life.

Everything I do is an experiment:  Test.  Assess the results.  Learn something and take the next step.

Sound familiar? It’s the scientific method!

My goddess, what a simple concept, a guidance on how to live a life. Life presents countless opportunities; we are constantly choosing what to do (or, in far too many cases, not do). Instead of looking at each opportunity as a measured step on a predetermined path–as an act leading to a particular outcome–consider it a chance to expand, to bring new knowledge and joy into your environment.

I know someone who does this supremely well: my sister, who celebrated her birthday yesterday. (Everybody say, Happy Birthday Peg!) Her life has gone through a series of twists and turns and heartaches and knockdowns and resurrections and explorations and she never stops! She has learned to listen to her heart and follow her interests and passions. She has organizational and managerial skills, creative and artistic talents, and interests that she has learned to follow to see where they take her. She has taken risks that most would never have dared to even think of pursuing–including piloting, quitting her job to be a stained glass artisan, moving 3,000 miles away, establishing a publishing company, parasailing. And–oh, yeah–she was a scientist early on, interesting in biology, so she’s quite familiar with the scientific method!

Look around you; think about who you know who has that spirit and that quest. I can think of one off the bat (Ph.D.s in botany and psychology, a passion for horses and dancing and out-of-date couture). They’re there, and they’re living the experimental (and experiential) life.

And now–back to the morosity and self-judgment (remember the first paragraph?!). It was triggered by looking at introductions made by people who are signed up for a course in Positive Psychology I’m taking at Kripalu, starting next week. (Ironic that people taking positive psychology send me into a tailspin, right?!) These bios, the information people chose to write about, painted pictures of very, very accomplished people. Ph.D.s, pharmacist yogis, coaches, lawyers, people who had pursued dreams. I felt like an interloper: No advanced degree, no established business, not even a steady yoga practice these days. What the hell was I thinking? I didn’t belong there.

But then. Then I remembered one of the reasons I signed up for the course (aside from and interest and belief in the topic): my desire to change the mix of the 5 people I spend the most time with. And guess what: these are the types of people I want to be with–smart, evolving, excited, passionate, questing, questioning, spiritual. And I started crafting my bio in my head to honor their influence on me and all I hope to learn from and with them.

Yup, experimenting with life.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Tikkun olam (Day 4.5)

A principle I learned of when my sons were being bar mitzvah’d was tikkun olam — often translated as repair of the world. It’s basically doing something, some act, that helps to repair a tear in the fabric of the world. It is similar to seva, or selfless service, in the Buddhist tradition; charity, in the Christian (or even tithing); and even the Golden Rule.

So why do I bring this up? Well, back when I was living in a house in a pleasant neighborhood, I would walk the nearby roads in the morning. One stretch in particular–a short patch of road between two busy thoroughfares–was a testament to the slovenliness of some members of the public, who apparently believe that if you ditch something from a car and can’t see it anymore, it doesn’t exist. Yeah. Not so much.

At some point, I got really, really tired of seeing the mess on the road and decided, well, if not you, then who (to quote Dr. Seuss), so I started carrying plastic bags with me on recycling days and picking up the trash, bit by bit. And there were always more bits. I would stealthily include my collections in the recycling bins set out along the road, and then continue on my walk.

And this weekend, my past revisited me. From my new location, I sometimes walk to a local shopping center. Part of the route includes a hill that seems to attract the same clientele as that previously mentioned stretch (they’re about 1/2 mile apart, so it could be!). And every time I walk that stretch, it hurts my soul to see so much crap just thrown away, as if it didn’t matter. (Well, in our society, where we can throw away commonsense protections at the expense of children’s and women’s lives, what else should I expect?) But it does matter, and it does make a difference to see the path blighted. And it makes an equal difference–at least to my soul–to see it cleaned up.

So when I went to the center Saturday, I carried a plastic bag and stuffed it with recyclable plastic cups, lids, muscle milk containers, water bottles, you name it. It was overflowing (even had some red Solo cups in there). And it landed in the recycling bins. And this morning, I re-used two bags snared by a bush to collect other pieces of trash.

And I really had to wonder about the sight of a no-longer-as-young-as-I-used-to-be woman in her earflap hat shuffling up a hill picking up trash and carrying two loaded plastic bags. Bag lady, anyone?!

If that’s what it takes to help heal the world, it’s fine with me. Because goddess knows, our world needs a lot of healing today.

And I invite you to find your own tikkun olam today. It doesn’t have to be grand, it doesn’t have to be intense; it just needs to be.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Day 3.5 The importance of time out

See, I came up with a title! And why Day 3.5? Well…

I woke up yesterday morning not feeling too great. My body proceeded to reinforce that feeling with some demonstrations. So I spent most of yesterday in bed, sleeping. And I don’t sleep in the day–unless I’m sick.

But that brings up an interesting point: The importance of naps. There has been a lot in the news recently about how short (emphasis on SHORT) naps (you can just read the extract!) mid-day can actually help us function better, refresh us, give us a rush of energy and concentration to propel us through the rest of the day.

But like I said, I don’t sleep in the day. Except… there are those meditation breaks.

I often walk at lunchtime–it gets me outside (even the office park has some trees and flowers), gets me away from the office, gets me exercise (to help balance my Peeps habit this time of year…). And at the end of the walk, if there’s time, I like to sit on a bench and meditate for a few minutes. No, it’s not the same as a nap–but I might argue it’s better, because it helps to tame my mind’s activity without going into unconsciousness and possibly a deeper nap than anticipated. And I find I come out of it–even if distracted by the sound of buses or people walking by–in a calmer, more grounded, gentler frame of mind than I had going in.

It’s a time out I give myself.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Day 2. Still working on the titles

It’s very interesting who likes your posts when you include tags like “marketing” and “blogging”: People who are trying to sell you Internet marketing techniques think you’re the cat’s meow. (No, I’m not dating myself; I just know the phrase and was NOT alive when it was coined, despite what my children think.)

But then…a shaman I follow on Facebook (yes, I said a shaman) posted a link to an article. And the tag line/company name/3 second ID: Marketing with a Heart. Talk about in tune with so many things in my life. A couple of key points, for me:

It is about getting an important message to as many people as possible, being gentle and fierce, and making choices with compassion and courage.

What you think, speak, and do creates your world…and affects everyone.

And one of his tags? “selling as a service”

I really like how he’s put his philosophy out there, along with his expertise–how he brings it down to its core. His bio talks about travels around the world in a variety of occupations, building connections with people–and after all, isn’t that what marketing is about?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment