Word-Of-the-Week #807: Time

January 22, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Time – what seems to go faster the older you get and what we wish we had more of sometimes.

How well do you manage your time? Do you show up for work on time? Do you feel like you always need more time to finish projects?

This word struck me as I was reading about all the holiday shoppers that waited until the last possible moment to do their shopping. It seems as though the majority of American’s have a tendency to put off doing things until they have no other option.

People living in the Midwest & East, and those sending gifts to those areas are in for a big disappointment as the weather and overloaded systems at both UPS and FedEx have caused major delays in the past. Even parts of the West and South have been affected. Lots of gifts never make it for Christmas. That would a BIG bummer if I had kids!

One of the things that I have diligently worked on over the past 20 years is being on time. I always think I have MORE time than I do or that a project will take less time than it does. Anybody else like me? Knowing that, I now “pad my time.” If I think it will take and hour I plan on two. Plus I even set my clocks ahead by 5 minutes. Waiting until the last minute makes me feel more stressed out which isn’t any FUN at all!

Then there’s my dear sweet husband who I have titled, “Mr. DIN” Do It Now. He is always ahead of the game. He doesn’t like putting anything off until the last minute. He’s all packed a week before we go on vacation. At times it’s a bit of a challenge for me. But I would take that behavior over procrastination any day of the week! And now I even pretend I am leaving the day before vacations so that I am all ready.

This week’s focus is time and how you feel about it. Are you habitually late? Does that cause problems at home or at work? Are you always on time and waiting for others? How does that make you feel? What could you do to better manage your time?

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Word-Of-the-Week #806: Attachment

January 16, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Attachment – believing that life is permanent and you need lots of stuff to feel complete.

Do you feel a need to accumulate possessions? Does your car, paycheck, house, etc. determine who you are? How about the people in your life? And during the Holidays do you feel a need to buy gifts for everyone?

This felt like a good time to revisit this WOW that I wrote back in 2006 right after my mother passed away. In the Dalai Lama’s book, “How to Expand Love,” his Holiness suggests that we might behave better if we remember that life is temporary.

“One of the chief reasons why lust and hatred arise is that we are too attached to this lifetime. We want to believe it is permanent, that it will last forever, so we concentrate too much on temporary circumstances and place too much value on material goods.” 

“The only way to get around this is to reflect on the fact that all things pass – you too will pass away.”

My mother always said, “Life is short.” As I write this, I am thinking about all of my friends and family who are no longer with us, and reflecting on how short it now feels. My mom didn’t need a lot of things and could have spent a lot more money on possessions than she did. She knew that one day she would die.  She just didn’t know when. As a result, she lived each day to the fullest, surrounded by family and friends.

This week’s focus is on how much you are or are not attached to possessions. Do you see everything as permanent or temporary? Can you see that if you died tomorrow none of those things would be important in your death? How would it feel to give the “gift of an experience” to a loved one this year? Do you have any fond memories of receiving an “experience gift?”

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Word-Of-the-Week #805: Learning

January 9, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Learningthe act of gaining knowledge.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed about the never-ending stream of information you are exposed to? Have you ever actively questioned information you have received?

“Be Careful of What You Let Enter Your Mind” by Steven Handel is this week’s contributor.

“In today’s world, we are constantly being exposed to new information in the media, news, articles, blogs, books, TV, movies, or conversations we have with others.

In many ways, this abundance of information allows us to reach a new level of education that wasn’t before possible. However, it can also lead to a lot of misinformation which can distort our views and beliefs.

One recent study shows that exposure to misinformation can be very “sticky” in our minds. Even if we are told afterwards that something we learned isn’t true, that misinformation still influences our future choices.

This is especially true if the misinformation we consume conforms to our pre-existing beliefs or if it’s something we have very little outside knowledge about.

For these reasons and many more, it’s important that you are careful of what you let enter your mind.

One of my favorite quotes is: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”Alvin Toffler

Due to a never-ending stream of new information and misinformation, we need to always be open to learning new things and adjusting our views in the face of this new evidence.

It’s really easy to find evidence for something that you agree with. It’s a lot harder to willingly seek information that could possibly prove you wrong. But this is often a necessary part of critical thinking.

In another study, it was found that the negative effects of misinformation can be diminished if we are critical of what we consume while we are consuming it.

It’s important that you don’t just absorb information passively, but that you actively question everything you let enter your mind.

Whenever you find yourself learning something new, ask yourself:

  • How true is this?
  • What is the source of these claims?
  • What evidence do they have to support these views?
  • What evidence might go against supporting these views?
  • Do these views seem logical and rational?
  • What are other possible views that may be a better alternative?
  • Where can I do more research?

In a healthy and functioning mind, beliefs need to be flexible and open to change. We rarely have all the facts and evidence, so when we learn new things we have to be able to adapt.

Everything you let enter your mind can shape your consciousness and beliefs in some way, often times without us even realizing it. By taking a little more caution in what you let enter your mind, you can take greater control of how your consciousness is shaped.

Of course, you can’t monitor everything that enters your mind 24/7 – that would be impractical and a bit paranoid. At the same time, it may do you some good to cut certain things out of your life to minimize their negative influence on you.

At the end of the day, just pay a little more attention to what you let enter your mind and how it may be influencing you.”

This week’s focus is about learning. Are you open to receiving new information? Have you ever gotten misinformation? Are you open to learning new things and adjusting your views if they aren’t the same as your pre-existing beliefs?

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Word-Of-the-Week #804: Supportive

January 2, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Supportiveproviding encouragement or emotional help.

Do you typically make New Year’s Resolutions? How successful have you been in attaining those? How would it feel to focus on having supportive people around you?

I am taking the liberty of sharing this again from WebMD’s posting, “In One Year, Out the Other. This year, try giving resolutions a rest and just do your best.” 

“Here’s a New Year’s resolution anyone can keep: Resolve not to make any more New Year’s resolutions. 

Now, wasn’t that easy? 

If you’re trying to pay down your credit cards, quit smoking, get a new job, find a mate, or shed some excess poundage, abandoning New Year’s resolutions won’t get you off the hook. 

But by setting more realistic goals for yourself and not limiting yourself to a once-a-year, do-or-die, all-out assault on that Everest of debt, those flabby thighs, or the hideous wallpaper you keep meaning to replace, you may find that the finish line isn’t so far away after all. 

Or as the Rolling Stones put it, “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find you get what you need.” 

“New Years after New Years, millions of Americans make a resolution to go on a diet, and a diet is a way of eating that feels so depriving that you can hardly wait to get to the end of it so you can go back to doing what you did before,” says Elizabeth Zelvin, LCSW, an online therapist who helps people with eating disorders.”

And that’s a BIG fat problem! (No pun intended) The saying goes, “If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you always got.” 

What if you found “you just might get what you need” from a little support? My goal this year (and decade for that matter) is surround myself with people who provide encouragement and emotional help. And just so you know, they are the ones that are “uppers” not “downers.” Truly supportive people want to see you succeed! Just look at how successful AA and Weight Watchers are. It’s much easier to stay focused on your goal when you have encouragement and emotional help.

This week’s focus is about surrounding yourself with supportive people. What do you want help with? Who can you connect with that can make that happen? And lastly, how realistic are your goals for the coming year?

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Word-Of-the-Week #803: Fortunate

December 26, 2019 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #803: Fortunate 

Fortunate – having more advantages than other people.

Do you believe you should help others that are less fortunate then you? When was the last time you did that?

This week Kindergartner pays off lunch money owed by classmates. Five-year-old Katelynn Hardee of Vista held a cocoa and cookies fundraiser,” by Deborah Sullivan Brennan is a great follow up to the last three WOW’s!

“After a Vista kindergartener learned of hardships faced by some of her classmates, she sold hot cocoa and cookies to pay off the lunch money they owed.

Katelynn Hardee, 5, held a hot cocoa stand in front of her home Sunday, aiming to help end hunger with proceeds from the treats.

She wanted to make sure that other students “can have a snack and lunch,” she said. “If they don’t, their tummies grumble.”

Her goodies, along with some handmade artwork, brought in $78, which helped square up lunch accounts for 123 other students with small balances, said Jamie Phillips, director of child nutrition services for Vista Unified School District.

“It’s amazing to see a 5-year-old do a fundraiser,” Phillips said.

Katelynn, a student at Breeze Hill Elementary School, loves art, cooking, and asking questions, her mother Karina Hardee said. So when she heard another mother discuss her difficulty covering the bill for the after-school program, Katelynn asked her mom about it.

“I tried to explain that we need to be kind and give back to others who are not as fortunate,” Karina Hardee said.

Katelynn had done a lemonade stand over the summer, so she decided to sell hot cocoa this time, and donate the money to help kids who couldn’t pay for lunches. She and her mom mixed up chocolate and milk, and baked sugar cookies shaped like snowmen, snowflakes, presents and Christmas trees.

“I decorated them with icing and gumball toppings,” Katelynn said.

Friends, neighbors and passers-by stopped for snacks, and Katelynn made $48. She raised another $30 with artwork she is making for a family friend. Phillips used that donation to clear the balances on 123 lunch accounts.

That act of charity “is not typical of a 5-year-old, but for Katelynn I could see that,” her teacher Rachel Ellis said. “She’s very mature for her age.” 

Over 1,000 students in the district have negative balances ranging from less than a dollar to $10 or more, Phillips said. In Vista, nearly 65 percent of students qualify for free and reduced lunches based on their family income. Some other students might be eligible, but did not submit the application in time, he said. In other cases, families have income that is too high to qualify for the meal program, but not quite enough to make ends meet. 

“The cost of living here is so much higher” than other communities, he said. “You could not qualify for free and reduced meals, and could still not be at a livable income.” 

Schools still provide meals even when students owe money, but the nutrition department sends notices reminding their families to pay. If they don’t pay by the end of the year, he said, the balance doesn’t carry over. Instead, the school district reimburses the nutrition department from the general fund. But that diverts funds from other programs, and the district is currently facing budget deficits.

Phillips said anyone can donate to help pay down the lunch balances and some seniors contribute the money left over in their own lunch accounts when they graduate. Katelynn’s fundraiser has already inspired more giving; another donor just paid to clear all the lunch balances at Major General Raymond Murray High School, Phillips said.

“It’s really inspiring,” Ellis said. “When I told my class, they said, ‘We can do that? I want to do a lemonade stand.’”

Katelynn thinks her donation probably made her classmates happy, and said she wants to do more lemonade and cocoa stands in the future.”

This week’s focus is on being fortunate. Do you appreciate all that you have? Are you more generous during the holiday season? If a 5-year-old can make a difference don’t you think you can do something to help those that are less fortunate than you?

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