The Simple Things

"Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world." --Voltaire

I found this quotation and a calm came over me. Most of the best things that life offers are incredibly simple. Reading, dancing, laughing, walking, gazing, breathing. These are the basics of being human yet it's so easy to take them for granted. And, it's equally easy to dismiss them as unimportant. If I were to get up on my soapbox for a moment, though, I'd challenge you to think of them as some of the most important aspects of life.

And, the cause no harm part? Wow, the world really needs some of that right now. If we could get back to basics, especially when conflicts arise, what a different world this could be.

Ask and then listen

"All you need to do to receive guidance is to ask for it and then listen." --Sanaya Roman
Ask, then listen. Simple, right? Yet, so many of us forget one or both parts of this. We complain. We lament. We bemoan. Or, we ignore a reality until it can no longer be ignored. 
After that, we might remember to ask for the answer to appear. We might remember to ask for guidance on how to move forward or which choice to make. When we reach the point of knowing that something needs to change, we'll usually ask the question.
But, listen? Well, life so readily gets in the way of that. Life tumbles at us and we react. Days go by without us finding the time to slow down and listen. Even when the answer tries to get our attention, we often aren't able to hear it because of our noisy lives.
So, today, slow down. Breathe. Ask. And, then listen. Even if it's only for a few minutes. Listen.  


"If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back."
--Regina Brett  
I love going on walks and doing one of my favorite things: looking at other people's houses. I like seeing how other people live and I especially like finding the rooms that are well-decorated and tidy but still have some signs of the lives that happen within.  
The one thing I have to be careful of, though, is that I tend to assume that the occupants, based simply on decor I admire or a cute front porch, have idyllic and uncomplicated lives. 
I imagine that they never yell at their kids. Or, that, because they have drapes I envy, they have more money than they'll ever need. Or, that they probably have healthy meals on the table every night--and their well-adjusted kids happily eat those healthy meals.
This type of thinking can quickly lead to a not-so-great place (think jealousy, despair, exhaustion). That's why I love this quote. After all, I have no idea what's really going on inside those walls.  
And, when I stop to think about what goes on inside the walls where I live, I realize that what we have--though more often than not I'm greeted by discarded kid shoes in our entryway--is pretty darned close to what I want.


"Celebrate what you want to see more of." Thomas J. Peters
Life goes by so quickly that we often forget to celebrate. We may note the big accomplishments but we often fail to recognize the small ones. 
Today, take a few minutes to think about some of your recent wins and then do something to note them--even if it's just a small happy dance in your kitchen.  
And, going forward, remember to celebrate life's little moments. After all, life is full of small wins and I can't think of a better way to live each day than by celebrating.

Be a Rule Breaker

"If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun." --Katherine Hepburn
From years of coaching, I've noticed that we all have our own set of rules that we've made up for ourselves. Some of them serve us well and some of them really need to be questioned-or even broken.
For instance, I have a rule that says I must pick up litter when I see it. For some reason, I just can't walk by a piece of trash. That rule serves me just fine-it's easy enough to follow and the Earth is better off because of it.
On the other hand, I have another rule for myself that says I need to finish all of my work before I can do the things I want to do. This translates into day after day of lots of work and not much play. Apparently I'm a slow learner because I've been following this rule for years, not catching on to the fact that I will never finish all of my work and that I'm the only one responsible for that.

This week, notice the rules you've made up for yourself and, if you find one that deserves to be questioned, I urge you to bend or maybe even break it.