It’s Time to Expand the Golden Rule

Do unto others . . . You know the rest. . . . as you would have them do unto you. The Golden Rule has been around throughout history and across cultures, and I wholeheartedly agree that we should treat others as we would like to be treated. What what about us? Shouldn’t we treat ourselves just as well? Do unto yourself as you would have others to do unto you. I think we should. To build our own well-being for its own sake as well as to build our positive capacity to serve others. Not Quite Grey Gardens For the past four months, my house has been cleaner than, well, ever. It’s no coincidence that a dear friend has stayed over for a weekly break from her epic commute for exactly that long.   It’s not like my house was a recreation of Grey Gardens, but I do have this habit. . . .

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old televisions speakers and videotapes

How This Late Boomer Helps Late Millennials Navigate Career Success

You’ve walked around 24/7 with a pocket full of wizardry – the entire internet on your phone – practically since you could walk. Why would your hire someone your parents’ age (or older) to help you launch your career? How can someone who grew up with phones attached to a wall, black and white TV, and encyclopedias instead of Wikipedia, possibly help you? Because I’ve been there. I may have sent my resume by snail mail. In an envelope. With a stamp. But while the logistics of launching a career post-college have changed, the human side is still pretty much the same. My journey from school to work wasn’t pretty. Much of it was way harder than it needed to be and some of it really sucked. But I ultimately crafted a career that lights me up. Every. Single. Day, In fact, one of the things I love best  is helping. . . .

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When Clutter Sparks Joy

Like the most of the folks I’m connected with on social media, I’m peppering my posts with Kondoisms these days. Didn’t read the book. Still, I Kondoized my Facebook connections in late 2016, exactly when most of the news stopped sparking even the tiniest bit of joy. Did watch the Netflix series, including one episode during a 3:00 a.m. bout of insomnia. Followed it up by tidying a drawer. Three weeks later, my workout gear is neatly folded and still sparks joy.  The rest of my house is still far from Kondo level tidy. Likely always always will be. Which is fine, partly because I keep finding joy amid the clutter. Example: a journal from a workshop I took called Teaching as a Spiritual Journey, back when my career would have been better described as Teaching as an Exercise in Self-Torture. In particular, notes about the highs and lows of my job. Entries. . . .

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The Gift of Clarity

I just made a decision. I said “no” to doing something I love that would have helped someone whom I respect. Without hemming or hawing. Without agonizing over pros and cons or what if’s.  Without making excuses and without feeling guilty. Within seconds, I responded to a request with a clear “no.” This is HUGE for me. Not so long ago, it would have felt impossible. If it feels that way to you, I so get it. In the not so distant past, I would have weighed options. I would have felt guilty not being able to “help out,” even when I knew I’d be resentful and wouldn’t show up as my best self. I would have waited until the last minute to respond, unwilling to own the decision that I knew with every fiber of my being was the right one. I would have wasted time and energy thinking. . . .

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begin with thanks gratitude practice

Thank for Little, Thank for Much

Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.  Estonian proverb According to a review of the role of gratitude in cultivating well-being published in Clinical Psychology Review, practicing gratitude can lower blood pressure, improve immune function, promote happiness and well-being, and spur acts of helpfulness, generosity, and cooperation. Think of a way you can add small infusions of gratitude to your days this week. Try it out and notice what happens.

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Navigate Holiday Overwhelm by Boosting Your Immunity

It’s t-minus two weeks until the big day, which means, whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the pace of most of our already hectic lives is approaching warp speed. Schedules packed, to-do lists long and growing, rest and patience harder to come by than daylight during your evening commute. Good news: you can still boost your immunity against holiday overwhelm. It’s a simple procedure. Just take in the good. That’s it. No matter the level of holiday hyperactivity around you, simply notice the good. Early and often, for about 30 seconds each time. This inoculation against holiday overwhelm costs nothing and the people around you don’t even have to buy into it – or even know you’re doing it – for it to be effective. (Bonus: they’re likely to benefit from your good-seeking, whether they’re aware of it or not.) Stuck in the express lane at the grocery behind someone. . . .

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Lay the Groundwork for Future Growth

I took a walk in the neighborhood where I grew up last weekend. You’d think I’d walk there more often, since it’s right next to where I live now, but it had been years since I toured the old stomping grounds. I was struck by how much smaller everything seemed. Except for the hills. I was blown away by their enormity. Hills I flew to the top of on my Stingray bike as a kid were suddenly big enough to make my quads scream in pain. The houses, though? And the yards? Definitely smaller. And exactly when did all those vegetable gardens start popping up in all those tiny little yards, anyway? They sure weren’t there when I was a kid. Of course, the gardens are all fallow this time of year, littered with dying leaves and the remains of Halloween pumpkins. Bare. Quiet. Still. The bike-riding kid version of. . . .

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A Month From Now, It’ll All Be Over

A month from now, it’ll all be over. Today’s the day I can’t not hear my dad’s personal holiday litany, in his voice, inside my head. With variations – two months, two weeks, a week – it was as much a part of my holidays as trimming the tree and wrapping gifts. It’s not that he was a Scrooge-like Grinch. Quite the opposite. He LOVED the holidays. Especially the choosing and giving of gifts. I grew up hearing about how, when my brothers (12 and 14 years older than me) were little, he and my mom finished Christmas shopping together before Thanksgiving because my dad’s work schedule was so hectic in December. As the branch manager of the local post office, his Decembers were a blur of long lines of usually stressed-out and sometimes downright nasty customers from the time he unlocked the door in the morning until way after. . . .

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Create More Comfort and Joy – and Way Less Stress – This Holiday Season

Feeling wiped out by the holiday frenzy already? It’s just getting started. Holiday commercials since Halloween, crowds raging and carols blasting in every store, schedules becoming more packed every day – no wonder we’re feeling the crunch. It doesn’t have to be that way. Sure, if you cooked, visited, traveled, or shopped yesterday on Thanksgiving, it makes sense that you’re tired. But that doesn’t mean you’re destined to constantly feel frazzled and exhausted for the next 40 days, from now until the first of the year. Begin to create a holiday season of more comfort and joy – and way less stress – by resting a bit today. And reflecting on the fact that it doesn’t *have* to be a nonstop season of overdoing, overeating and overspending. As a church musician, I’ve long been familiar with the joke about the seven words of church management: that’s the way we’ve always. . . .

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night sky with moon and stars

What You Can Change When You Can’t Change Change

A joke went around social media recently about how the temperature went from 90 to 55 like it saw a state trooper. It made me laugh, back when if still felt like late summer. A week into running the heater daily and noticing the sun set earlier and earlier, I’m no longer chuckling. Autumn. Not a huge fan. Fall colors? Yeah, they’re nice. That magical feeling when you can go outside without being suffocated by stifling, humid air or being bundled up as if en route to the South Pole? Love all 15 minutes of it. The inevitable weeks and weeks of darkness and cold? Nope. I accept that change is inevitable, but I doubt that I’ll ever celebrate the cold and darkness of fall and winter. No matter how much I whine, though, there hasn’t been a single instance where my complaining stopped the darkness from getting longer until that glorious. . . .

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