Are You Stuck Inside Your Box?

Individual, Motivation, Inspire

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Society loves boxes. Large, small, blue or yellow – every item must fit in its designated container. It’s an efficient method for organizing inanimate objects quickly. Hundreds of books line the shelves in our local bookstore. Each claim to have the best solution for stuffing items in the various boxes.

People, however, are not inanimate objects. We are individuals with multiple facets to our personalities. Society’s cold logic can be lazy and sometimes cruel. We put individuals in boxes because it makes our judgment of them much easier. Sadder still, we as individuals begin to believe we are stuck inside the box society has assigned us.

Big Personalities Can’t Be Trapped in A Box

My Aunt Della was one of the first women to help me understand big personalities cannot be locked in a single box. Several years ago, my sister and I were spending a summer in Anchorage, Alaska. Before the days of cellphones and the internet, a phone call from the lower forty-eight was the best communication you could manage. Our family asked us to visit our seventy-six-year-old aunt who’d just moved to a condo in the city. Alaska was a challenging place to live back then, especially for an elderly woman. Many thought she was crazy to pack up and move there on her own. We had placed her in the “Age Box.”

I come from a long line of strong women. My grandmother, Agnes, spent her youth in an untamed area of the West. She could break horses and strip down a rifle double quick. Aunt Della was a true daughter of Agnes. Despite her age, she’d purchased a cozy multi-level condo in a city she was determined to explore. The condo had steep stairs enclosed by high walls. I took one look and knew they were a death trap.

Aunt Della, as if sensing what I was thinking, ran up and down the staircase at a surprising pace for anyone over forty. She grinned at my sister and me.

“Seventy-Six Years Old and I can still climb stairs,” She said with a laugh.

We later discovered her daily exercise included a brisk walk to and from her local pub. Aunt Della had chosen to live her remaining life full of fun and friends. She refused to be stuffed in Society’s “Age” or “Widow” boxes.

What about you? Are you living life according to someone else’s category?

 

Individual, Motivation, Inspiration

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“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” Buddha

 

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

 

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Blizzard Days

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Blizzards. The very word conjures up images of white out skies and blustery winds. We try to stay safe in our fortress, preferring to avoid the tempest. Sometimes we peek through the glass. Our greatest fears are realized. The world outside our window is utter chaos. Cold and harsh, we withdraw from it and hide beneath warm blankets until the storm passes.

Growing up at the feet of the Rocky Mountains, I’ve experienced a great many blizzard days. They can be frightening. You are literally isolated from the rest of the world. These brutal storms, however, can usher in a time of rest. They force you to stay inside with books, movies, hobbies and whatever else keeps you distracted from the chaos.

Everyone needs a Blizzard Day no matter your local climate. Life is managed chaos. Even the healthiest of people need a day to relax and recuperate. Grab the book you’ve been dying to read. Curl up under your blanket and let the world rage outside.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Are You Struggling with the Effects of Overwhelming Negativity?

Hostile negativity is everywhere. You turn on the news to check your local weather only to be bombarded by stories of embattled governments or acts of unsettling violence. Browse your favorite social media platform and there it is again. Negative comments. Trolls. Neighbors turning against neighbors.

Hope Can Come from Unlikely Sources

BE SILLY! IT’S GOOD FOR YOUR SOUL!                            © alexei_tm – Stock.Adobe.Com

Do you remember a certain animated movie about monsters working in a factory collecting screams from children? A happy accident helps them discover gathering laughter fuels their energy containers much faster than the old methods of scaring. Positivity, laughter and love are more powerful than fear, hate and anger.

 

Arm Yourself with Affirmations

A tsunami of negativity seems to have flooded our world lately, but you don’t have to drown in its murky waters. Here are some affirmations to help you stay positive and empowered:

“I have the power to turn off my TV or social media platform.”

“It is my choice whether to be positive or negative today.”

“I choose my own reality.”

Do you notice a reoccurring theme to the affirmations? Choice. We are in control of our own lives and destinies. Choose health and wellbeing.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Sometimes You Have to Start in The Middle

Zodiac Horoscope Puzzle by In GooooD

Jigsaw puzzles are a bit of an obsession for me. Nothing stimulates the old noggin like the smell of freshly cut cardboard. The satisfying sound of glossy pieces spilling through my fingers as I search for the perfect shape. Then the ultimate victory of the final reveal when each piece has found its proper place to expose the original picture.

Unfortunately, my precocious kitty enjoys puzzles as much as I do. Unable to set up the pieces undisturbed on our kitchen table, I had to go digital. It’s not the same. Needless to say, I was delighted to receive a round jigsaw puzzle for Christmas. It fit perfectly on my Lazy Susan. Kitty proof!

I eagerly started the puzzle as I usually do by digging out the exterior boarder pieces. After two days of frustration, I was getting nowhere fast. I started over at least three times, but still couldn’t figure out how the pieces fit together. Close to giving up, I decided to try assembling the sun and moon image located at the puzzle’s center. It worked! I began to understand how different circular puzzles were from the traditional square or rectangle ones. Sometimes you have to start in the middle.

Completed puzzle! Hooray!

Is there something in your life you are struggling with right now? Are you approaching it as you’ve always done? Stand back and look at your puzzle as a whole. Is there another way to approach it? Good luck! I know you can solve it!

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Last Minute Gift Idea for Creatives

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You’ve hit the malls more than once and the long list of “To Buy” gifts is almost complete. Hmm. One name left. It’s for the Creative in your life. This special soul doesn’t seem interested in the latest gadget or fashion trend. Rather they are obsessed with books, music or art (all kinds). Sure, you could give them the standard gift card and let them indulge their introverted desires. Or you could try something else.

A Special Kind of Coupon Book

Make a “Just for You”coupon book – Fill it with items your Creative will truly appreciate. As a Creative, I’ve listed examples I would love:

  • Inspiration Coupon – Good for 1 trip to the museum, symphony, author workshop, etc.
  • Listen Coupon – Good for 1 very long dinner at a quiet restaurant where we exclusively discuss your latest book idea, painting, etc.
  • Opinion Coupon – Good for 1 honest, but kind opinion about your talent and path
  • Support Coupon – Unlimited and does not expire. I promise to support you and your art unconditionally. I will be your biggest cheerleader.

Creatives bring special insight to the world. Sometimes their truth can be beautiful. Other times it isn’t easy to share or hear. Your gift of love and support will give them the strength to continue making their art.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Can You Spot the Optimistic Takeaways from A Christmas Carol?

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The first Sunday after Thanksgiving, I hop on the light rail and travel to the Denver Center for Performing Arts to see A Christmas Carolby Charles Dickens. For two glorious hours, me and a hundred or so other avid theatre goers put our gadgets away, sit in the dark and allow ourselves to be transported to the streets of Victorian London. We marvel at the tale written over two centuries ago by a master storyteller. We are transfixed by our fellow human beings who act out the classic story just as our ancestors have done for generations.

Two little girls – I would guess nine or ten years old – sat in back of me. They were appropriately shocked and appalled during the scene in which two business men come to ask Scrooge to donate to the poor. He refuses to give any money stating that those badly off must go to London’s horrible workhouses and prisons.

“Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”

“if they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

 My Three Optimistic Takeaways from A Christmas Carol

The First– It gives me great encouragement we can still be appalled by dreadful behavior in this age of internet trolls and ugly politics. Or, at least, our youth can be.

The Second– Scrooge’s transformation from a selfish old curmudgeon into a loving and giving person is proof positive anyone can have a change of heart. It is never too late to be a better person

The Third– Dickens reminds us no matter how hard change is or how much they are ridiculed, people of courage will still work toward a greater good. These positive changes benefit each and every one of us.

“Some people laughed to see the alterations in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset…”

If you are working toward change, I hope this post has been a gift of encouragement to you. Stay the course. Never give up. You are worth the effort.

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.

Five Ideas for Learning on the Cheap

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Are you a curious person who likes to learn? Maybe you’re looking for a career change. Or maybe you’ve recently retired and just want to do something different. Taking classes or workshops can be the answer. Here are five ideas for learning on the cheap.

Five Learning Resource Ideas for Adult Learners

  • SCORE.org(United States Small Business Administration) – Did you know the Small Business Administration wants your business to be successful too? They started the SCORE program in order to foster growth in the small business community. SCORE provides classes and coaching professionals to help. Highly recommended
  • LinkedIn.com– For a minimal monthly fee, you can take online workshops presented by industry professionals
  • Udemy.com– Online resource for just about any course subject you can imagine
  • Local Colleges – You’ll find adult learning programs at many community colleges. They offer a wide variety of classes at reasonably priced fees
  • Local Museums, Botanic Gardens and other venues – Stuck for ideas on your new learning adventure? Try your local museum or botanic garden. They frequently offer specialty classes/ workshops for interesting subjects. Don’t forget local organizations! These groups focus on writing, art or hobby interests

Honorable mention – YouTube.com:I’m a big fan of this online resource. I’ve lost count of how many times I access YouTube in order to figure out how to do a DIY project or a quick home repair.

Being a lifelong learner doesn’t have to break the bank. Technology has provided us with opportunities to learn at a lower cost. So, enjoy those classes and keep your brain active!

Be Positive. Be Happy. Be Well.