Sunday, January 17, 2010
Saturday, January 16, 2010
I decided to record my daily "big thoughts" - inspirations for these blog posts, things I did especially well each day, and great opportunities for learnings. For the past two days, I've found myself recording new ideas and resources that I should tap for my various projects. This tiny black book has become a book of intentions.
For some time now I've been searching for and crafting the perfect filing system - a single place to keep all of my links, magazine articles, references grouped by project. I haven't been able to find that place just yet. I've tried my own excel spreadsheets, my Google inbox, Evernote, a number of online resources, an intricate paper filing system, etc. It seems I've tried just about every option and each falls short a bit. With the entry of this little black book, I realized that maybe that perfect filing system doesn't exist, and maybe it doesn't have to. Perhaps items of interest can, and should, be stored separately.
I started to image this little black book a year from now, pages and pages filled with inspirations, or at least pieces of inspirations. I imagined myself flipping back through its pages and being inspired all over again by the notes and messages scrawled across its pages in my own handwriting. Perhaps to build an extraordinary life we all need a place to record our wildest learnings and dreams. Perhaps in our commitment to write down these dreams, we have the greatest chance of bringing them to life.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Today I heard a bit about Lugh, one of the gods of the Celtic Pantheon. He is the son of Cian and Ethniu, half god, half monster. He was able to become successful because he had the good traits of each of his parents: the heart and morals of his father's side (the gods), and the courage and self-defense abilities of his mother's side (the monsters). With the gods being oppressed by the monsters, he joins the gods, teaches them to defend themselves, and helps them gain their freedom from the monsters. While greatly simplified, this basic outline provides a powerful example of how to choose our better history and future.
Every experience and example has the potential to be a help or a hindrance to us. Cian's family, had good, patient hearts that lead others to dominate them. Ethniu's family was wild and ill-willed, though exceptional warriors. Lugh could have easily adopted either example. Instead, Lugh was able to combine the warrior instincts of his mother and the good heart of his father to restore peace.
The important lesson here is Lugh's decision to pick and choose among his historical examples and inherited traits to create something all original that allowed him to do the most good in the world. When I consider my own history and my own way forward, I've been thinking a lot about my parents, my earliest examples of how to be an adult in the world.
It would be easy to vilify one of my parents and deify the other. Instead, I am trying to appreciate and nurture the very best of them both as a base to build my own life from. From my mother, there is so much goodness to choose from, though not enough personal confidence. From my father, there is so much intellect and confidence to choose from, though not enough compassion and love for others.
My history is the inverse of Lugh's, though my journey has been and will continue to be similar. In order for me to really do some good in the world, I will need the very best traits of both my parents combined. I wonder if that's true for all of us.
The image above is not my own. It can be found here.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
CNN and NBC have done a tremendous job getting the word out, showing the images and telling the stories of the people in Haiti, encouraging the much-needed generosity of the world to pour into this tiny country. In 24 hours, a cell phone text campaign raised millions of dollars. Thanks for social media, it takes so little effort on our part to lend a hand, and in this situation every little bit helps.
I’m finding it difficult to go about my usual business in light of the disaster. I just don’t feel like I’m doing enough. The images are haunting me and are never far from my mind. I keep visiting internet news sites to get the latest updates. In an effort to do more, I wanted to post today’s step on this blog to list four ways that we can all get involved in the relief efforts right now:
1.) Twitter users can quickly get word of the latest updates and relief efforts, particularly from people on the ground in Haiti, by searching #Haiti, #haitiquake, #RedCross, #CARE, #ONE.
The situation in Haiti prior to the earthquake was dire. Now it’s reached catastrophic proportions. Extraordinary circumstances can lead us to help others in extraordinary ways. We have the opportunity to do something extraordinary today, right now. The people of Haiti need our love and support now more than ever.
Christa - What was your inspiration to start Yogoer?
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
One of my favorite outcomes of this process is getting to meet these amazing virtual people in person, when I get to read their witticisms online, and then realize they are even more fantastic in person. Tonight I got to meet up with Amanda, one of my favorite social media friendship success stories. Long-considering a move to New York City, Amanda began looking for creativity focused blogs by New York City authors. Amanda found my blog via random search, and then we discovered that we went to the same college, graduated the same year, loved yoga, performed, and were writers. Tonight we got to meet in-person for the first time, and 2.5 hours later, we still had loads to say. What a great feeling!
There's been a lot of criticism of social media because some consider it so impersonal. "It's replacing real-world interaction," some people say. "People spend too much time in front of a computer and not enough time living their lives," others say. Both valid arguments, though I've found such a rich, contrary existence in social media. It's allowed me to connect with people whom I may never have met otherwise, people who enrich my life and share my sensibilities and dreams. Social media's brought me friendships I never expected, and for that I am incredibly grateful!
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
On my way home, I thought about other people I’ve lost touch with over the years, despite our best efforts. It’s to be expected as people’s lives move forward, and I’ve also changed jobs and cities quite a bit. With the advent of social media it’s now so much easier to be in touch and keep track of people we love having in our lives. I’m so grateful for that. In the past year I’ve been fortunate to find so many people again, and am always amazed how similar the tracks of our lives are, despite the distance. It’s been a true gift to reconnect.
I can’t help but think that some of these connections are coming back into my life at just the right time: that we’ll be working on projects together, supporting one another in our dreams and ambitions, or even just providing one another with a good laugh and a thoughtful ear. It’s so much easier to build an extraordinary life when we connect with and surround ourselves with extraordinary people.
“For those just coming back from vacation, think carefully about what you are going to put your fresh, valuable mind to in your first few days. Value this resource highly. It may be your only chance to see the mountain you are on, to decide if you’re taking the right path up, or even if it’s the right mountain to be climbing at all.” ~ David Rock in Psychology Today
For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on clearing my mind more often during the day. The natural tendency for a busy mind is to work ever-harder to crack a problem or find an innovative solution. The yogic belief is that a clear, unburdened, relaxed mind is actually a more creative, efficient problem solver. And now that belief has a boost from hardcore science.
Monday, January 11, 2010
I had the great fortune to speak with Sasha Abramsky last week. To read the interview, click here.
“Let's not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh
It’s easy to pay attention to the big emotions of our lives: Falling in love, grief from losing a loved one, pride for a hard-won accomplishment, or disappointment caused by betrayal. There’s no way to avoid those huge swells, positive or negative, because they take over our lives. Reading this Van Gogh quote made me think about all those tiny emotions that we feel at every moment, and that often pass by unconsciously: frustration at getting on a crowded subway car, wincing at the sting of the cold weather, gratitude when someone holds the door open for us, and joy from an encouraging message from a friend. These smaller emotions, while less significant in size, can add up to a great deal of our happiness quotient.
How do we feel about lives in the empty moments, when nothing particularly emotional is happening, when our lives are just humming along without any type of massive shift? In those quiet moments, we get a sense of our base emotions and attitude. The trick is to recognize and appreciate that empty moment. With all of the opportunities to fill up empty space, it’s easy to avoid ever having an empty moment. The empty moments are important because they allow us to take stock of the little emotions; they let us get a sense of where we are on the happiness curve.
On the way to work this morning, I was thinking about how we handle the constant tweaks of the little emotions that every day circumstances cause. Because I just interviewed Sasha Abramsky, author of Inside Obama’s Brain, I’ve been considering Obama as a role model for how to conduct our daily lives. Whenever Obama is thrown a curve ball, and isn’t quite sure how to react, he smiles. We can observe this behavior in his debates, during his press conferences, and during one-on-one media interviews.
The smile lets him pause, gather his thoughts, and remain outwardly composed in the process.
This tactic gives him the opportunity to work through his small emotions, rather than having to obey them. And he looks good all the way through the process: he looks as if nothing ever phases him and provides a thoughtful, articulate response. A wonderful example to manage the little emotions we all experience.