Tag Archives: Personal

Drop the Pins – And Get More Done

pins-in-handToday, I’m sharing a productivity trick I have been loving! It will help a lot of you get so much more done. (As for the rest of you, well, there are other more or less sophisticated methods to deal with your hangups at the bottom.)

I’ve been using this trick for about a month now to get more done with fewer hangups. I don’t write as a self-help guru. I am a normal, busy mom with kids in sports, clients I love to dazzle, and a ‘to do’ list that will never be blank. Where would the fun be in that anyway?

The background story of how the method worked it’s way into my practice is important for the message so I am sharing it first. However, if you are in a hurry, you may want to skip to the : Why the memory has helped me so much lately now and come back later.

I read a lot about how the mind works. Books I found difficult to put down!:

  • “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” – the part about how negative media affects our daily lives and moods – it’s so true
  • “Social Intelligence” – also a great book by the way – especially when it talks about the affects on the brain due to a lack of face to face interaction vs… you guessed it: social media!

I come across arguably great examples of how to get things done well all the time like: the Olympians who are trained to imagine themselves finishing a race perfectly and winning. And they call this “creative visualization”. Pretty words, but what do they really mean? Somehow imagining yourself doing something and finishing it right significantly improves your changes for a positive (if not optimal) outcome.

That’s great and all, but that creative visualization voodoo thing only helps when you have one track, one finish line, and one goal: to win. Right? How does this help people in a multitasking, dynamic road-block reality? We’d never get anything done imagining every little thing we do just to get it done well!

The trick is to using creative visualization as a “transitional image: see the mental block, let it go, and see your hands free to get back to the work you mean to do”. It is some kind of hang up that’s keeping you from doing what you know you should be doing right now (doubts, fears, burn-out, etc). You can learn how to experience yourself letting go of these limitations and really feel the freedom to go and do what it is you need to do.

The Dream: When I was a child (age 9 or 10 maybe?) I had a very vivid dream I still remember quite well to this day. One significant detail in the dream was that I was carrying a handful of safety pins in my right hand (and yes, I’m right handed) and I didn’t want to put them down.

The significance of safety pins at this point in my life: The ladies in my old church would often have safety pins pinning the back of their skirts to make sure the split was not too long, or pinning up necklines that were decidedly too low. Etc…you get the idea. So, if someone decided that the split in your skirt was indecent, someone would always have a spare safety pin and march you to the ladies room to pin it down. (It was never to be above the knee.) This is no slight to them, it’s simply what they did… and still probably do.

Anyways back to the dream: I didn’t want to put my pins down. No one else had any in their hands. They were walking about and doing things that I wanted to do, but could not because I would lose some or something. I remember wishing that I had a pocket in my skirt so I could just put them in my pocket and go be with my friends. P.S. There was definitely more to this dream, but I just want to talk about the pins part.

What did the pins represent? They could have been many things. Preparation for future events where I might need them for my cloths or future judgements on others with unholy apparel? ;) I really believe in the dream at that time, they represented general burdens. I think this because at the end of a church service in the dream, people were going to pray but I couldn’t because I was embarrassed that I still had the pins.

Why the memory has helped me so much lately. During one of those books it talks about re-imagining something from the past and doing/saying the right thing instead of whatever you did. For some reason, my old dream popped into my head again.

After recalling the same dream every once in a while for 20 years my creative visualization turned out to be simply this :
In my mind’s eye: I finally dropped those pins. As soon as I opened my hand and began to turn it to watch them fall, they began to vanish one by one until they were gone. I look at both hands and feel rapturous because they are now free to do what I need to do.

The feeling was just beautiful. It was that freedom that I felt for one tiny span of time when I realized how my thoughts and memories really do affect me.

I wanted those feelings again later that day in an overwhelmed moment. So, I dropped those pins and again saw my hands free to do what they needed to do, and I did it.

This is a strange trick I completely agree with you, but if I could help someone else feel this way for even just a moment. Then it’s been worth sharing to those other people who will probably tease me about it later, but it’s OK because I’ll drop those pins too and smile with them. :)

It’s changing my life.

Find what works for you. I believe the safety pins worked so quickly for me because the dream was so significant for so long, that finally letting go of those pins opened up a world of possibilities.

The next time you find yourself in some hang-up, or are going through something, or just can’t focus and have know idea why:
Feel sorry for yourself.
Yell at someone!
Cry it out.
Take a breathe and count to ten.
Or… Just drop the pins and when you see your own free hands… You’ll know what to do.

With love,
Amber

Pigtail Style

pigtailsYesterday my 10 year old (Haylee) informed me that she absolutely must wear pigtails to school today.

I couldn’t remember the last time she actually wore this particular hairstyle.

‘Why?’ was the next obvious question I had to ask.

“Because there was this girl being bullied in high school about her hair being put up in pigtails! Some mean girl told her that only losers and babies wore pigtails and that she was both. Well, that girl wore her pigtails to school every day after that and the mean girl kept picking on her! She never changed her hair style for the mean girl though, and then other girls caught on to what was going on and started wearing their hair in pigtails, and well now every girl in my school including teachers who has long enough hair is going to be wearing their hair in pigtails to support this girl and her right to wear her pigtails!… ”

My daughter’s story (as always) was very detailed and passionate about this cause.

pigtailsThe cause isn’t about pigtails of course.The cause is about girls supporting other girls and the courage to be who they are, to wear their hair the way they feel like wearing it, and to not back down when someone tells them that they are a loser.

I wore my hair up pigtail style today too.

Click here to read (the original pigtail girl) Maisie Kate Miller’s story in the Washington Post Blog.

 

Thankful for the Right to Vote

I voted Nov 06 2012 I am sitting here watching the election updates and feeling grateful that I live in a country where I can vote.

Did you know that there are 2 countries on this planet that have yet to allow women to vote?

What if you couldn’t have a say in the leader of your country simply because of your gender?

This is the third presidential election I have been old enough to cast a vote. Each election has felt more and more important. As a result I do more research, watch more debates, and listen to the opinions of others. Opinions, of course, can get quite ugly; but I listen anyway so that I can ask ‘why’.

I don’t vote straight ticket for democratic or republican or libertarian. In fact, my ballot ended up with a mix of all three. I study and try to vote for a candidate based on the individual and not any particular party.

Susan Who?

Remember Susan Boyle?
I know this is old news, but the message of it is timeless and it felt sort of “right” to post about it this week. :)

Back in 2009 her courage to follow her dream inspired millions.

If you don’t know who Susan Boyle is then take 5 minutes to watch: Susan Boyle – Britain’s Got Talent ’09.

Too many of us would have clammed up under the skepticism and undisguised ridicule she faced from the moment she walked out on that stage up until she started to sing her song “I dreamed a dream”.

Who would have believed that it was even possible that this 47 year old woman from some village somewhere had what it takes to be a star?And yet she did and she took the chance to prove that she could shine as brightly as any of them.

If you don’t agree that she was outstanding during her performance that’s OK. The point of it is that scads of others who watched her were changed a little after watching her – and there precious few who can say that they have been able to give that kind of genuine inspiration during their 15 minutes of fame.

So, what is your gift?

You know what it is. It is probably even definable in a single word like: William Shakespeare: story-telling, Albert Einstein: intelligence, and Martin Luther King Jr: leadership.

However, the gift/word itself had very little significance.

It was the mindfully strategic use of those gifts that actually changed the world.

If it wasn’t too late for Susan Boyle to show off her talent, then it certainly isn’t too late for you either.

“What would you do if you knew you could not fail?” – Robert H. Schuller

A Span of 7 Years

Every seven years we become a completely different person.” – A coworker told me this once. Do you think she was right? Of course, she didn’t mean that we change instantly.

The first thing I thought when I hear that was: “Couldn’t the same can be said about five, four… or even three years?” The answer to that is: “Probably.”

Today, for one reason or another, I got to thinking about who I was seven years ago vs. who I am today and I must admit it was a little disconcerting. When we hear/read that statement, we can’t help but to think back on how our lives looked seven years ago. And of course, we instantly begin to compare a large number of life’s differences between now and then.

So why seven years? Does this give any merit to the “seven year itch” myth? – I’ll say no to that, but concede to the fact that seven years is a long time considering how short life really is.

It’s time to consider the past seven years and answer the following 5 questions for yourself.

1. Where were you 7 years ago?

Remember the Autumn of 2004. Do you remember the details? Where were you living? Where did you work? What cell phone were you using? Can you even remember your phone number? What email address where you checking every day? Did you have a pet? Did you know your closest friend? Where you on speaking terms with your parents/kids? Were you financially secure?

The older I get the more I realize how little I know. – original author unknown

2. What’s different?

Seven years ago, I would have been 21, still very naive, probably more shallow, and I remember being a lot more fearless. I always thought I would do something big and make some huge difference in the world. But here and now, I am completely content with my currently small place on our tiny little planet Earth. I think I would like to have the courage back, but then again it’s the fearless people who have a lot less to lose. So… that’s probably not true.

3. What remains the same?

The thing that remains the same for me is that I am still a total geek. I love being a geek, hope I always gravitate toward new technology and have something to learn and challenge me.

4. Would you go back and do it all over again?

There are some people who live in the past as if it where the present. Some people would pay big money to go back and relive certain spans of their lives like high school and college years, when others are more like me and wouldn’t want to go back. Frankly, you couldn’t pay me enough to relive those years.

Well, maybe that’s an overstatement. :)

5. Would you change anything?

What I mean is, I wouldn’t want to experience it all again because I know that I would not be able to change a single thing. I prefer living with the good memories and dodge the thought of accidentally making a single change that might change who and where I am right now.

Here’s the important question: Who will you be seven years from now?

Plant Therapy

How much plant life do you keep in your home or office environment?

There was a time that I had resigned myself to accept that I am terrible at taking care of plants and flowers.

I would have sworn that I was simply not able to keep them alive. I’d either forget about them or drown them. Plus, I never really had much of a yard to work with in attempt to have any kind of garden outside my home that’s for sure. The closest I ever came to being successful at growing anything was on Farmville. (Heh, yeah seriously.)

Then one day I was reading an article about herbs and their health improving properties, and I remembered that I had bought a few of those tiny herb kits at the dollar spot in Target.

I really have no idea why I purchased them other than the fact that I liked the adorable tiny pots that they came in. I know, it’s bad to do this. I actually avoid the dollar spot these days because I would always find something that would end up sitting in a box in a closet forgotten but taking up space.

Anyways, back to the point, I decided to dig out the little herb garden starter kits and try to grow them. To my surprise, they actually started growing! (See my photo of them above.)

I found nurturing the tiny little seeds to grow to be quite relaxing and rewarding.

This is an infant liquid medicine dispenser.

I gave them each tiny drops of water to drink every day. – Just enough to get the soil completely wet and I used an infant liquid medicine dispenser. (I know it probably sounds way to over-cautious to those of you with a green thumb, but like I said, I was pretty certain that when I took care of plants before I would either over or under water them.)

Because I enjoyed this little activity so much, I decided to look up the benefits of gardening. Turns out that leisure gardening is actually a newer type of therapy called horticulture therapy. Who knew?

From John Goodman’s Health Policy Blog post about Plant Therapy:

“A number of studies have already indicated that just looking at plants or nature can help alleviate stress, perceptions of pain and improve mood among patients. More recently, studies have gone further to indicate that the act of gardening can also have dramatic and restorative effects on health.”