Summertime & the Livin’ Is Easy

by Carol Hess on June 24, 2012

I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to complicate things.

It’s my father’s fault.  He was an engineer, and he over-engineered everything.  It drove my mother crazy because she was an impatient, slap dash kind of person.

So, yes, I am Daddy’s Little Girl when it comes to complicating things.  There’s something about the straight forward, easy way of doing things that doesn’t quite satisfy me.  Surely going from point A to point C to point D and back to point B is better than simply going from point A to point B, right?

I don’t believe in less is more.  I believe in more is more.  And I’ve got/had the addictions to prove it.

However, the other day I found myself in an uncharacteristic “Let’s keep it simple, shall we, Carol?” frame of mind.  And I discovered five simple and even downright easy ways to make my life better on a daily basis.

Here they are – just in case you’re in the mood for easy, better, and less is more.

1.  Start your day with 5 minutes of sitting still and being quiet.  You can call it meditation if you want, but I always get antsy when I call it that.  So I call it sitting still and shutting the heck up.  It’s incredible how fast you can turn your about-to-go-bad day to good.  Maybe even great.

2.  Don’t call yourself or anyone else bad names.  You’ll be amazed how fast your Inner Critic shuts the heck up when you institute this rule.  Even more amazing is how much more time and space you will have to think about all sorts of stuff you haven’t had the time to think about before.

3.  Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.  This is another very effective way of muzzling your Inner Critic.  When you start playing the comparison game, someone always loses.  While you’re busy looking over the fence and checking out the color of your neighbor’s grass, you’re not going to notice your house is on fire.  Guess who loses?

4.  Sincerely compliment the people you meet during the day.  That includes you.  And look them in the eye while you’re doing it.  (Yes, including yourself – that’s what mirrors are for.)  Guess what’s happening to your Inner Critic (again)?

5.  Spend the last five minutes of your day in gratitude.  It can look any way you want it to look – thinking about it, praying about it, writing about it, telling another person about it.  And you can be grateful for anything you want.  Don’t judge grateful.  Just be it. 

My Inner Critic is on a tirade right now about this blog post.  Considering what a pivotal role her silence plays in making my life better, at least according to this list, I am going to shut her the heck up.  She’s forgotten that sometimes less (words, effort, time) is more.

In this case more looks suspiciously like supper out on the deck, being grateful for long summer evenings.

It’s your turn.  What’s your easy way to make your life better?

by Carol Hess

6 comments

Categories Carol's Musings, Stress Management, The Art of Star Polishing

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Lynn Hess June 25, 2012 at 11:13 am

Ah, I like your idea of sitting still for 5 minutes but not calling it meditation. As much as I know it’s silly, it’s too easy to put all kinds of expectations and restrictions and meaning on that time when I call it meditation. But sitting quietly, I can do that!

One of the easy ways I make my life better is to “assume the best.” When someone else says or does something that strikes me funny and I start feeling suspicious of their motives or what they meant, I just decide to look at it positively. If it’s a compliment, I simply choose to believe what they say instead of looking for a passive-aggressive meaning behind it…and if it sounds not-so-complimentary, I look to see if there’s any truth in it (and, if so, what can I learn from it?) and/or assume it’s not personal but just something the other person is dealing with.

It took many years of training myself and reframing things before this started feeling natural, but it has made a huge difference in my quality of life.

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avatar Carol Hess June 25, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Lynn, I need to do exactly what you suggest — assume the best. I am a pessimist from way back, but I know it’s not my natural nature. Time to corral those negative thoughts and reframe, reframe, reframe. Thanks for the feedback!

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avatar Jane Morrison June 25, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Great comments and ideas Carol!

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avatar Carol Hess June 25, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Thank you, Jane. Glad you liked the post. :)

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avatar Sarah | Holistic Hot Sauce June 25, 2012 at 1:04 pm

I keep finding affirmations like this to the post I’m writing right now. All about getting rid of ‘should’. I’ve been working on your steps 1-4 for a while now (well, I’m far better with the compliments to others than myself! That’s my challenge.) And I’d like to implement #5 as a new practice. I think about gratitude throughout the day in snippets – but spending those 5 minutes totally focused on it is something I long for. Nice way to go to sleep!

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avatar Carol Hess June 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm

I can identify with struggling with compliments re my self. We’ve got to get over that! :) An attitude of gratitude — what a gamechanger it is. Yes, it is a nice way to go to sleep — sure to inspire nothing but the best dreams, guaranteed! :)

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