Tag Archives: content

Update?! There really isn’t one…

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I have not written much lately… My mind just kind of went foggy and gray when I would think it was time to write a blog entry.

Life has been good to me… I ran that fun race last weekend, went to a happy hour the night before with The Cute Guy in attendance, have been really in tune with my teenagers, and have been able to focus on work.

I am being patient with my love life… I usually remember that God has a great plan for me, something I could never drum up for myself, and I even cooked dinner the last 2 nights, in a row! (Don’t ask about tonight, I have no ideas or inspiration yet)

I am enjoying new an old friendships… with women mainly, but a man or two has also entered the scene.

I have 2 new necklaces that I like to plan outfits for work around. It actually helps me get to the office these days, to wear my new necklaces. I may be late, but boy, I look good!

Is my life getting complacent? Am I becoming thoroughly boring as a contented person with nothing to rant and rave about in my blogs?!? I honestly don’t know what to tell you today…

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Outreach Experiment Results Are In!

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I wrote something back in June about reaching out to my friends, making time for them, and deciding to try once a day reaching out. I was feeling dumpster-ish. https://3leggedtable.wordpress.com/2011/06/17/outreach-experiment/

It has truly been the best thing I have done all summer- and I have done lots of amazing things this summer (blew off a stupid depressed guy I had a crush on, ran a race along a mountain top, journeyed to the top of the highest building in North America with my children, hugged my mom, reconnected with my sister, etc.).

That simple act of forcing myself to reach out instead of looking inward (and often caving in on myself and my fears) has taught me to actually open my heart to loving, really loving, connecting, sharing, and enjoying whatever they have to offer. I have found so much joy and contentedness right here where I am, with my sweet, fun, and funny girlfriends, my old Grandpa-guy friend, a sweet Grandma colleague (who I think has now made it her mission to hug me weekly), and also, yes, new surprising attention from men (that I can usually take or leave because my sense of self no longer depends on that attention to get out of bed in the morning).

I am in the enjoying/joyful phase of all this, feeling like my reaching out of my shell has enabled me to give love, support and encouragement to others like never before. And- I am getting ALL THAT LOVE back! And more! It has become a lovefest! It has improved all of my relationships, my mothering too- I am able to calmly give my kids so much more now that I don’t feel like love is in short supply.

Today, I am going to a party. Attractive men will be there… One man with whom I have felt waves of interest going back and forth… It could be the test of all of my training… Will I be able to stay in that content, self-confident, giving and receiving place? Or will I get shy and cave inward in fear?

I choose to think optimistically. I am going to give support, love and encouragement to others without worry about what is returned. My focus will be laughter and giving (and as Surrey Gal would say “Try not to get smashed”). http://surreygal.wordpress.com

Anger Squared Part 2

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I woke up feeling alarmingly pathetic today. It really didn’t feel good. I was even whining during my morning prayer (“God, could you PLEASE just send me my partner, NOW. I am tired of this growth phase BS”).

I decided it was the ashes of the anger and resentment I have been working on letting go. Naming it differently didn’t change the self-pity all that much though.

I decided to (or, I got the urgent message to) get out of my own head, and away from me-me-me by praying for others, because after all, I live in a developed nation, have health care, and a few dollar bills (very few, but still a few) in my pocket. I am better off than most of the people in the world (like 95%??!? Someone out there knows that number). Yes, I have things to complain about- my mom has no clue how hard I work and makes comments about my life that grate on my spine, my CC is not catching on to the communication thing, my teenagers STILL leaves plates and cups all over the house, I have 2 gfs now with more than their share of boyfriends, and the ants in my bathroom keep on coming… But I don’t want to be there. I want to be enjoying life and the green grass and trees rather than complaining about the rain.

So I decided to spread my love, energy, and prayers to everyone I can think of today. I prayed for my mom*, my ex-husbands, my teenagers, my gf with too many boyfriends, the CC, and everyone else I could think of, all morning long. It only took about 10 minutes for my attitude to change. By the time I got to work I was smiling at everyone, understanding why my son was late to breakfast, opening doors for people, and practically singing. The admin lady even smiled at me when I walked in.

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If we are going to stay in our content places, which for me, is that grateful place, where I feel powerfully kind and loving, not pathetic and whiney,we need to work at it. It won’t magically arrive. We need to leave the poor-pitiful-me behind; shell out the prayers and gifts to others.

* I had to laugh at myself, because I had not thought of praying for my mom in quite a while. And yet I complain about my children not being thoughtful of others (aka, me). Ha!

Giving Away Our Victim Minds

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I can come up with all kinds of excuses not to give money to my Church or good causes: they won’t miss my measly $20; there are people who give thousands without a blink and I can’t give much; my kid needs new wrestling shoes; I want my daughter to get a haircut so her friends will be nicer to her; God would want me to take good care of my self esteem and get my hair highlighted professionally; and I need to balance my checkbook again before I let any more go away.

I know we are supposed to just enjoy giving to others. And I do, in many ways I enjoy giving to others. We all like giving birthday presents to friends, but giving to an entity without a face is harder for me.

Dave Ramsey (www.Dave Ramsey.com) says we are to give away 10% of our income to the Church. Is that net or gross, I wonder? Hmmm, I am not tithing to either level yet. I have a budget, you see, I use mint.com and keep track of everything I am supposed to buy and spend on, and it only balances out if I… blah blah blah. You know the story. I want to buy more stuff and watch more movies than I want to give money away.

I also don’t believe I have enough money for everything I need in my life. And, I have not forgotten the really lousy deal I got in both divorces. I was completely decimated, wiped out, cleaned up on like a rag doll. It has taken me 6 years to recover financially and get my feet back on the ground.

What would happen if we had the attitude that “I have enough”, “I don’t need any more than I have”, “I am blessed”, which also means I have the attitude “I am not a victim of my ex-husband/society/my parents/my bosses’ crazy bonus program that doesn’t include me/the current economic situation”.

Then we would feel better giving, wouldn’t we? If we know we have enough, and God is taking care of us, then we have more than enough blessings and we can give away money to others without a problem. In fact, if we give money away, would it maybe tweak away at the victim thoughts in our mind?

When we give, are we acting as if we have enough; will that idea find rest in our hearts and minds if we take action and 1) act as if we have enough coming in, and 2) we do have control over our own expenditures?

That victim mode sucks the life out of us. When I feel I don’t have enough, then I quickly feel I don’t make enough, and I can’t get enough (money), it trickles into every other aspect of my life. In addition to feeling financially poor, I feel lonely without enough friends; I feel loveless, without a partner and companion; and my family feels far away. But what if I took action against that “there is not enough” attitude and acted as if I have more than enough and can give money away to causes I believe in and to people who do not have food in their cabinets or clothes in their closets? Or worse yet, clean water to drink?

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When you give, you are getting maximum horsepower out of your personal design. —Dave Ramsey
My personal design is to be strong and yet trusting; this is a complicated place to get to… but I think giving money and trusting God’s plan for me do go together.

The giving and trusting mindset vs. victim mode: Which will win our hearts today?
In honor of World Water Day yesterday, I am including pictures today on that topic.

http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/

Acceptance is Happiness Habit #2

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Happiness project Habit #2 is Acceptance. More specifically giving acceptance.

The previous Habit was Giving Time to Relationships. https://3leggedtable.wordpress.com/2010/12/01/can-we-waste-time-to-get-more-of-it/

I called it wasting time, and could/should write an update entry re-defining it as investing time… The more I thought about it, the more I realized that when I give away time to my relationships– just be with them with no agenda, the easier and happier those interactions are. So I am trying to give time away each day. Delia is going to help me make a calendar that I will share with you to track our habits each month, because we do need to keep up with last month’s habit while learning this month’s new one.

I originally thought I could spend a month learning and thinking about 4 or 5 new habits (like Gretchen Rubin in Happiness Project did). But it turns out I must be a slow learner, as I can only do about one new habit a month… This blog category is “Happiness and Contentment“, and specifically, what can we give to the world to get more of those two.

Giving unconditional acceptance to people and situations is my 2nd Happy Habit for Happiness and Contentment. This is hard for people (like me) who tend to think we have control over our lives and people in them… I often have to remind myself that her crabby mood, his mean comment, their impatient attitude, and all of their behaviors and choices, are theirs, not mine.

However, when I learn to just accept the cold day, the cold shoulder from a coworker, the lack of the other car’s turn signal working like it should, the teenager’s forgotten thank you, it all feels sooooo different! I can still try to will it into my way with whining, complaining, grinding my teeth, and arm waving, but I will only get a sore jaw from all that “shoulding on people”…

Accepting unacceptable behavior is not the goal. There is a difference between accepting/making ourselves available for unacceptable behavior (by sticking around and not exiting stage left when a verbal barage begins) and accepting the person who did the behavior. We don’t embrace the behavior, we embrace the person (after they have chilled out and we are all back to our centers).

When I learned to say to my kids “I love you, no matter what choices you make” after difficult exchanges, it took a load off of EVERYONE’S mind. They were were feeling unlovable and ashamed of their behavior. I was pissed that they acted the way they did, because of the way it reflected on me…

Hmmm, kind of silly, huh? Of course we love them. And of course they are individuals, not extensions of us. Verbalizing unconditional love to my kids that way helps everyone over the shame and blame place. Then we could talk about the issue.

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I only have control over my behavior, not my children’s, not the driver in front of me, and not my boss’. So the habit for this month is to behave in a way that shows I accept the person (but not the behavior), even when their behavior is not winning them gold stars.

Can We Waste Time to Get More of It?

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Happiness Project Lesson #2

“There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.” Robert Louis Stevenson

Remember, this is the Happy Trip. You are transforming the midwestern-crack-smoking-upbringing that taught us if we aren’t miserable, we really should not be satisfied… into luxurious happiness and contentment with life today. I am suggesting we make new habits based on Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project, I am tailoring my blog to Anne’s Happy Needs rather than Gretchen’s. You can do it too. Click on the link, and you will get fed into her website, project newsletter, book snippets, and lots and lots of cool things.

Happiness Project

Giving is my focus for the month of December. I want to write about it, think about it, quote about it, and inspire it. The more we give the things we want from life, the more we will see them already in our lives. The more we foster generosity, the less lack we will feel. The more we give to our children, the more generous they will become as adults. The more abundant we feel, the more abundant the world will feel. We are blessed and can give back blessings to the world.

I want to give a lot of: Time, Love, Money, Acceptance, and oh yeah, Gifts.

Today is Time: I am learning (painstakingly slowly) that the more I rush around to get more time, the more precious time I lose. Like you, I want more time with my kids. So I rush around with our chores and order them around (as if they would actually act like efficient soldiers and not sneak off to log in to their FaceBook account).

The (false) focus is to rush through and get the jobs done so we can have some fun time together. But the more I rush, the more I miss out on the play and fun time. Sunday afternoon, while I was considering this point, I wanted to order them to finish decorating the tree. That was “the plan”. They started wrestling and then she was giggling and laughing uncontrollably. Soon after, he was skipping around the house singing with glitter garlands falling all over the carpet. That was not “the plan” and was “wasting time”. But if I were too focused on the plan to beat the clock and get the job done so that we could relax, I would have missed out on the fun time. I won’t lie- I did not in fact join the giggle-fest garland game. All I could do was breathe deeply (but not sigh!), and realize how screwed up I am that I could not enjoy it with them.

Huh. So the new goal is to slow down, and realize the Time I want to give my kids and I (and all of my relationships) is now, while I am folding the laundry, not after it is folded. It is now, during the only afternoon off to decorate the tree for 2 weeks. It is now.

New Habit for busy and crazed parent lifestyle: We will insert more time into our life with loved ones by choosing to do or join in on time-wasting behavior with them– We will sing while doing dishes, dance while walking around the house, and put down laundry to hug her and sit down to listen in the middle of a task. Then we get to mark it on the Happy Calendar every time we do this new habit (waste time with them). Wasting time with loved ones each and every day is the goal. I know it will be a terribly difficult new habit, but I think the rewards of learning to enjoy that time with our kids on their level will add a new dimension to our relationship, and therefore to our happiness!

*I am still creating this “Happy Calendar”; am not sure how to fit all these new habits in, but as soon as Delia and I figure it out, I will share it with you!

Happiness Project #1: You’re not happy unless you think you’re happy

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You’re not happy unless you think you’re happy.
corollary: You’re happy if you think you’re happy.
http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2009/07/how-to-be-happier-in-four-easy-lessons.html

The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. It is an important endeavor to be happy. It goes against the midwestern-protestant-be-miserable-and-then-you-are-good-enough upbringing, which makes it even more important!

Gretchen Rubin did extensive research on happiness. She read a ton of books about it and acquired advice, quotes, inspiration. She decided there were 12 areas in her life that could use improvement and would boost her happiness level if she put more oomph into them. She chose to be pretty compulsive about it, and made a calendar of 12 topics to cover in 12 months. She has about 5 new habits to learn each month, and they are cumulative! Wow, so 60 new habits to learn and guage over a year. She was determined!

I do not have control over people, but I do control my own attitude. Compulsions appeal to me. And, I have been writing too much about the downer (but honest) sides of single parent life. I am ready for solutions and action now. I need something more to sink my teeth into. I am willing to make 60 new habits over the next 12 months. And I think I could make a calendar to track progress, too! Her book is a really easy read; it feels I am like sitting down with a friend over coffee. I highly recommend you read it too and join me on this trip. It is not that we are unhappy, it is that we want more from life, and we want to give more to life.

These are Gretchen’s 12 Topic/Months:
Boost Energy – Vitality
Remember Love – Marriage
Aim Higher – Work
Lighten Up – Parenthood
Be Serious about Play – Leisure
Make Time for Friends – Friendships
Buy some Happpiness – Money
Contemplate the Heavens – Eternity
Pursue a Passion – Books
Pay Attention – Mindfulness
Keep a Contented Heart – Attitude
Boot Camp Perfect – Happiness

Happiness Project

I picked my 12 areas (Anne’s Happy Needs) . I am older than Gretchen, and might need more than 12 months to tackle my setbacks… but I decided on these 12 topics and their focuses to begin:
Giving – Time, love, money, acceptance, and gifts
Health – Rest, nutrition, energy
Friendships –
Love –
Fun –
Parenting –
Money –
Spirituality –
Beauty –
Receptivity/Contentment –
Creativity –
Happiness –

My next blog is about giving! I have some definite ideas about giving habits that will enrich our lives.