Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sharing is Caring...

This is a re-post of a great article entitled "Create Your Best Future: Three Ways to Shape Your Life for the Better".  I have been incredibly busy with my own life, but I will be back to blogging my own thoughts and experiences VERY soon...

Because the future is created by our actions in the present, it’s in the world’s best interest, and our own, that we focus on becoming better versions of ourselves each and every day. We are born to be mediums of love and kindness. And we all have it in our power to shape the future by the choice to let loving and just, or hateful and destructive things happen through us. The future depends completely on the way we act now.

Look at the Choices You Make
Every day we are given the opportunity to do things that either lift one another up or put one another down. We can be kind and generous or mean and selfish, judgmental or accepting, forgiving or not. Every choice we make works to create or destroy the sense of goodness in life and the experience of peace on this earth. Our choices serve to unite or divide, to make others and ourselves better or worse. So pay serious attention to the choices you make. A better future depends on it.

Nourish the Capacity to Do Good
In becoming better human beings right now, we are called upon to nourish the capacity to let only good things happen through us. This means there can be no hate in our heart at all: no self-righteousness, no meanness, no discrimination, and no selfish disregard for the poor and suffering in our world. If we are not more kind every day, more understanding, more patient, more loving, and more fun to be with, then we are not nourishing our capacity to do good. The future we create will look like the world does now, agonizing for the presence of better human beings. Nourish only the capacity to do good.

Respect What You Can’t Understand
There is no way we can become better human beings by condemning what we can’t understand, whether it be someone’s religious, sexual, or political preference.  There is no way we can create a better future until we treasure the differences among us as a strength binding us together, not a weakness tearing us apart. Better human beings respect all the diverse mysteries of life, especially those we can’t yet understand. If we love what we can’t understand, divine understanding will be ours.

Until the next blog, think about this:  Goodness speaks in a whisper, evil shouts. -Tibetan proverb

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

10 Habits of Highly Organized People

I have been spending a ton of time scouring the internet for interesting articles and resources for my new job.  Last night, I came across this list on CNN.com (although I believe it was first posted on Oprah.com).  Say what you want about Ms. Winfrey...however, when CNN cites your website as a credible news source, you are powerful.  I have always been told that I am very organized, so I thought it would be fun to see how many of these habits I truly exhibit.  Here goes:

1. Walk away from bargains
  • I am not one to buy in bulk, although John is a huge Costco fan.  His "bulk-buying" mentality has definitely been tempered since I moved in, however I do spend quite a bit of time searching for bargains, particularly online. SOMEWHAT
2. Make peace with imperfection
  • It has taken me MANY years to achieve "moments" of peace with imperfection.  Not total peace...that seems about as possible as ice cream lasting more than 24 hours in the freezer. NO
3. Never label anything "miscellaneous"
  • Miscellaneous is one of those words that I never learned how to spell (in fact, I had to look at it twice in the statement above while I was typing...LOL).  Everything has a space, place, and name in my life. YES 
4. Schedule regular de-cluttering sessions
  • When I was single, this happened weekly.  Now that I am married to a man with quite a bit of stuff, this happens less often.  However, we do schedule time to go through stuff in the house.  I remember going through the closets after the earthquake in Haiti.  John works with several women whose families were devastated by this tragedy.  I think we ended up donating 6-7 bags of clothes.  I joked that my shirts and pants alone could clothe a whole village or at least serve as sleeping bags...John was not amused. YES
5. Stick with what works
  • I have subscribed to this philosophy my entire life.  Organized people are not usually filled with wells of creativity.  Just look at the show Hoarders.  Those "organization experts" are not creating art from the clutter.  They are loading trucks from 1-800-GOT-JUNK.  The only space in my life where creativity comes out is playing in the band (although sticking with what works has served me well me in band for over 10 years). YES
6. Create a dump zone
  • This is essential.  John and I use our "office".  This connects with "schedule regular de-cluttering sessions".  The dump zone (or Bermuda triangle of recently acquired clutter) is typically the go to place for missing items until you find a permanent space and place for them.  YES
7. Ask for help
  • Another challenge for me.  My delegation skills have definitely improved over the past few years, but I still struggle with asking others for help.  This is especially true as President of the South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble.  As I wrap up, delegation will be my number ONE suggestion to the next band president. NO
8. Separate emotions from possessions
  • Done.  I am not a highly emotional person anyway, but I am definitely NOT emotional about items.  I used to ask my students "If your house was on fire and you could save one item (assuming all of the people and animals were safe), what one item would you choose?"  What a struggle they had.  My answer is easy...my French Horn.  Not for sentimental reasons...HELLO, I have band practice every Wednesday! YES
9. Foresee (and avoid) problems
  • Another one of my strengths.  I prefer "hoping for the best, but planning for the worst"!  This has definitely helped in my personal and professional life.  However, it has made me a terrible passenger (especially in airplanes and cars).  Years ago, I finally opened up to my doctor about my fear of flying.  She quickly handed me a prescription for Xanax.  Problem-solved.  YES
10. Know where to donate
  • Living in south Florida, there are so many places to donate "stuff" the biggest struggle is finding the most appropriate place.  I prefer places like Povarello and Out of the Closet, as this directly impacts the gay community. YES
7 YES, 2 NO, 1 SOMEWHAT.  In a classroom, 75% is a "C".  Maybe I am not as organized as I once thought!

As we get older, priorities shift and evolve.  If I was to analyze this list 10 years ago, my answers would have been completely different.  For me, the 75% means that I have eased up the OCD tendencies for 25% of my life.  In terms of time, that is 6 hours a day, 42 hours a week, 2184 hours a year.  In terms of relationships, this has opened up space for my husband, family, friends, and blogging.