Drop The “Should” List

May 2, 2012 by  
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Photo By Angie Rubin

I am thinking about how much stress and turmoil is actually self-created.  I’m specifically thinking about the terrain between that which we want and that which we think we SHOULD have.

As we go through life we start to adopt/take on a list of things that society has created as the bible to live by.  But, are these rules/concepts agreeable to all of us all the time?  No. And so conflicts are born between what we do and what we think we should do.

I have found the first line of defense in these situations is to ask ourselves what we really want out of an experience.   I ask myself again and again until I can give an honest response.  Once I know what I really want then I concentrate on that and try not to worry about the “should” yelling in my head.

I’m not saying it is easy to rise above the intense psychological conflict that ensues, but not taking it on means missing out on many opportunities that could provide us with experience and contentment.

Let me give you an example:  Sometimes we find ourselves in relationships that don’t necessarily fall within the long lasting, 100% fulfilling – or close to – realm but fall within “what we need for right now”.  So, the relationship is satisfying now.  But, if we hang on to thoughts of “I shouldn’t be enjoying this because I need to be in the “right” relationship, we will miss out on satisfying needs of now.

We never know what doors we open every time we go through an experience.  Not, living them because they are not perfectly right in our own minds, keep us away from opportunities and wisdom. And lastly, who knows what the future may or may not bring.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do – Mark Twain.





The Science Of Problem Solving

June 2, 2010 by  
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Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it. – Mark Twain

Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen.  Keep in the sunlight. – Benjamin Franklin

Flowers CarolinaIt is so easy for us to not only wallow in our present difficulties but also add all the perils we believe are looming next week and the week after and before we know we are either so stressed we can’t deal with anything or completely paralyzed under the weight of it all.

Anybody over the age of eighteen has already experienced many times over that 1 – Life changes on a dime,  2 – Often the scenarios we imagine never come to fruition,  3 – What we do in the present affects the future.  So stressing about what might happen becomes a waste of time and energy. We must live in the present moment.

Let’s now think about what Mark Twain said above:  we must drag our thoughts away from our problems.  Why?  Because just thinking does not resolve anything, it actually adds to the problems.

So what do we do?

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Up In The Air

January 10, 2010 by  
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Bad habits are hard to break. Often there’s just something about them we enjoy, even if it’s not good for us. Good habits are also hard to break. Good habits can change because they don’t fit in our life anymore. Good habits can also be changed, out of our control, when situations turn life upside down.

The movie “Up in the Air” was all about habit. Ryan Bingham played by George Clooney, declares to the woman who has captured his heart, “I want my life to be a +1.” After years of staying happily airborne, he was ready to change his habit of living, always on the go, unattached and alone.

Two years ago all of my habits for living changed. They became focused on taking care of my husband, whose strong health was slipping away. My habits took on the role of a caretaker, a nurse, a nutritionist. Then when he passed away my habit of living “+1” stopped. My life of automatic habits disconnected. My habit of loving my life was gone.

New Years Resolutions are all about habit. Creating good habits to stop smoking, join a gym, or loose weight are challenging. New habits can also be short lived. But what about when we have to create habits we don’t want? Habits like sleeping and living alone? Planning habits that are for 1 person alone, not 2? Habits that are now my reality. I’ve existed with them for over a year. Now it’s time that I learn how to live with them.

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain