All posts by Website Administrator

The Importance of Finding Your Tribe

Several months ago I joined The Dirty Gym in Dayton, Ohio and made a commitment with my friend Brent that we would show up every weekday at 7:00 a.m.  And it’s not always easy for the typical reasons: it’s early and it’s hard.  Marcus, our trainer, runs us through the ringer on most days.  But it’s also easier than I expected because of something I didn’t expect:

The sense of community that I obtained by going there.  I found a new tribe.

I really like going because I like seeing, talking with and being around the other people that attend the gym.  We have shared goals.  They are optimistic, positive and supportive.  We tell dirty jokes and laugh a lot.  (There really is nothing you can say about working out “push it” “all the way down” etc. that can’t also apply to sex.).

I found a new tribe and it reminded me how important it is to know what we want and to find like-minded people.  If you want to write a book, join a writer’s group or attend a conference.  You want to hike, join a hiking club.

When taking on something big, willpower alone is not enough.  Willpower is a muscle that can be exhausted and eventually we all run out.  You need others to support and encourage you.  You need positive people who understand the importance of what you are doing.  You need others to celebrate the joy of success when it happens.

Go out and find those people.  If you already have them, reach out to them.  Ease away from relationships with people who don’t share your values or support you.  Give more time to those that do.  Find those who share your colors, paint your faces, and get tribal.

Nine Simple Actions To Make Your Work Day Great

1.Wake up 30 minutes earlier

Giving yourself time to start your morning slowly, unstressed and unrushed will set the tone and carry with you the rest of the day. Don’t immediately check email, the news, or social media. Take fifteen minutes to read something enriching, to meditate, or to take a walk.  As Monk David Steindl-Rast, writes, beginning the workday with conscious clarity and high intention is vital to the quality of our lives.

2.Take a different route to work

Breaking up routine fosters creativity and helps pull us out of ruts.  If possible, take back roads and avoid rush hour traffic.  Again, the decreased stress will increase your ability to handle problems with grace later.

3.Make a plan of action

Even if it is a simple as writing down 3-5 things on a sticky note, know what your goals are for the day and the order in which you are going to accomplish them.  This gives you purpose, promotes focus, and will lead to a better sense of satisfaction as you mark them your tasks as you complete them.

4.Stand Up

There is a saying in the medical community that “sitting is the new smoking.” Heart disease is more than double for people who sit all day at work compared to those whose jobs require them to be on their feet.  When we are hunched over our computers, we don’t engage the diaphragm and we breath shallowly, which makes us fatigued, cranky and irritable.  If you can install a standup desk, do so.  If not, then stand up when you talk on the phone and take breaks often to get up and move around.

5.Perform a small act of kindness

Studies have proven that even mundane acts such as opening the door for someone, providing an honest compliment or a sympathetic ear increases self-worth and positive feelings.  Both for you and then person you have helped.

6.Remind yourself why you are doing your work

It’s easy to get swamped in the minutiae and the drudgery that often plagues any work.  When this happens, pause to reflect on the big picture, whether that’s solving client’s problems, making the world slightly better or providing for your family.  You have a good reasons for what you do, or you wouldn’t do it.  Remember those reasons.

7.Write down the top three things you accomplished that day

At the end of the day, reflect back on what you have done.  Relieved Mrs. Johnson’s concerns about her child’s health. Helped Megan finish her report.   Protected a stream from pollution.  Took a walk with a coworker and got to know her better.  Even in a whirlwind day that held nothing but stress, if you focus on the positive, incremental achievements, you will leave with a heightened since of accomplishment.

8.Organize and clear your work area before leaving for the day

If you walk in to your workspace the next morning and it is in disarray, you mind will begin in disarray.  An organized space is an organized mind.  An organized mind can handle stress better and is more focused.  Put files away.  Clear your desk. Put your equipment away.

9. Give Yourself a Break

We rarely finish everything we set out to do in a given day.  Accept that and know that you can tackle it again tomorrow. The world will keep spinning even when items are left undone.  What we do is important, but have perspective.

 

Have a great day, everyone.

A Simple Trick to Open Your Mind To New Ideas

We all get stuck in rigid views, judgments and ideas from time to time.  We have our version of reality and we project that reality onto others and the world.  Sometimes a fact is a fact, but many times we can’t see past our own experiences and interpretations.  This rigid thinking cuts us off from others and the possibility of seeing things in a new light, or at least understanding and empathizing with those who see things differently.  And that leads to division, blaming and unnecessary strife.

A simple trick I learned from James Altucher* helped me to step out of this trap and I think it could help you.  Whenever you voice a strongly held opinion, simply challenge yourself to change the punctuation at the end of the sentence from a period to a question mark and say the opinion out loud, first as a definitive statement, then as a question, including the upward lilt we all give a question at the end.  For example:

“Barak Obama should legalize marijuana.”

Then:

“Barak Obama should legalize marijuana?”

Feel the shift in your psyche as you make this subtle change.  Suddenly you open up to other possibilities.  You can see things from a different perspective, even if your view doesn’t ultimately change.  And most times it won’t; that’s human nature.  But you will feel less rigid and less judgmental of others who see things differently.  You will be more empathetic and feel less separated.  We all see the world through the tinted glasses of our own experience.  Try uncertainty for a little while.  As Rumi wisely said, “sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.”  You never know what new things may slip into the cracks of your beliefs.

Give it a shot.  I mean . . . give it a shot?

 

* http://www.jamesaltucher.com

The Power of Letting Go

A few days ago I bumped into someone from my past that I hadn’t seen for awhile.  Our parting was painful but I felt I had accepted the separation and moved on.  And intellectually I had; I felt good about where I was.  But seeing her in person—the first time in over a year—brought back feelings of pain and loss that I thought I had successfully let go.  These feelings lingered for days and truthfully, made me angry.  Angry at myself, angry at what I felt was regression on my part. I didn’t want to feel those things.

For better or worse, I struggle with letting go of the past.  Friends, lovers, family, experiences—they are here for a period of time, and then they are gone, by choice or by circumstance.  Once I have them, I grip tightly.  Too tightly.  I don’t think I’m alone in this.

So what do we do?  How do we look at our present moment and understand we are exactly where we need to be? It’s very hard.  It’s a choice we must make.  And then make again.  And again.  And again.  We need to accept that with every gain comes a loss, every success a regret, every joy, a heartbreak.  Don’t run from the difficult thinking it will lead you to the good.  Go into the difficult.  Feel it, don’t fight it.  It’s who you are, too.  The light is waiting around the corner but we can’t set timetables for it, like I have too many times.  Be patient, open, and remind yourself, yes, I can let go.

Like with many things in life, this poem from spoken-word artist In-Q* showed up for me at just the right time, and I’d like to share a portion of it with you.

 

It’s hard for me to say yes

It’s easier for to say . . . next year.

When the weather’s fine.

When I have the money.  Or the time.

Or the relationship I want.

Or the career.

Watching life pass me by

Waiting for an invitation.

 

We’re animals aware of our future and our past

And this can be an obstacle to traveling our path.

Instead of just accepting where we’re at

We analyze our tracks for what we could’ve had.

Looking back, focused on the memories

Instead of on the facts.

And hence what we attract.

 

But it’s hard to factor in how fast

It really flashes past.

It’s an exponential graph;

Creation into ash.

Your view is worth the lows and highs

You go through on these coastal rides.

Control has got you holding on

When letting go could be more fun.

 

Feel the drop.

Eventually it all has to stop.

Love a lot and come back up til

You reach the very top

Because one day all your wheels fall off.

So take advantage of your shocks.

Do something you’ve never done.

Do someone you’ve never done.

Go someplace you’ve never gone.

Some place that could scare you some.

 

Be someone you’ve never been.

Feel all that adrenaline?

It’s medicine to jump start your skeleton

Then see everywhere you are

Is where you’re supposed to be.

 

So hopefully your hopelessly as lost as me

Because if you’re not, you ought to be.

 

*If you’d like to hear In-Q speak the poem, go to Richroll.com and listen to podcast #81.  Thanks, Rich, for putting that out there.

Six Life-changing Lessons I Learned from my Mother’s Terminal Cancer

1.Sometimes you don’t know whether something is good or bad until much later. 

I lived my entire life in Ohio and when I graduated law school, I wanted to experience something different.  I was fortunate to land a job with a small firm in Golden, Colorado, a small town outside of Denver nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  The locale was beautiful, the city life vibrant, and I spent weekends hiking, cycling and enjoying life in what remains one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been in the world.  But I was struggling with my job: I was barely eeking out a living, I didn’t enjoy the work, my boss and I didn’t click.  Less than two years after arriving, I got an offer out of the blue from a firm back in Ohio that would double my income and offer better opportunity for growth.  Logically, it was a no-brainer, but I still felt like I was giving up, taking the easy way out, going home with my tail between my legs.  A few short years after coming back, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and she died nine months later.  Those nine months I spent with her—able to spend it with her because I lived in the same town—were irreplaceable; some of the most important moments of our relationship happened then.  This could not have happened if I was still living in Colorado. Instead of feeling like a failure, I now understand what a monumental gift I was given in the opportunity to come home at the time I did.

 

2.Happiness can still be found in the most despairing moments.

As anyone who’s experienced cancer or has had a loved one go through the ordeal knows, it is horrendous experience.  I watched my mother shrivel in size, constantly feel sick, have excruciating pain.  But my mom became awake in a way she had never been before.  She opened up and shared things with me that I never knew about her.  She valued each moment of beauty she was given, and this rubbed off on the people around her.  She suffered from stomach cancer and her stomach was surgically removed in an attempt to stop the disease spreading.  Despite this, when we went to Mexico the last month of her life she ordered exotic foods to experience new things even if it meant only nibbling at them.  She had no stomach, and found a way to enjoy beautiful meals with her family.  Joy is present in everything if we are strong enough to find it.

 

3.We don’t have time to put off important things until later.

Whether we die in our twenties or live to a ripe ninety, our time here is brutally short.  My mom wanted to travel, but there were always things taking priority, always something else to get done.  When she got to Mexico she reveled in it—spending hours communing with the ocean, having a Pina Colada for the first time, haggling with merchants.  I wish she could have had many more of these experiences.  Within the past month a friend invited me on a trip to South Africa, and it took me about 30 seconds to commit to going.  Seeing every continent is on my bucket list, and after this year, I will only have two to go.  Yes, this will cost time and money.  But these experiences are what I value, much more so than a newer car, bigger home, or fancier watch.  I’m not going to let them slip by.  If you want to write a book, write now.  If you want to paint, paint now.  If you hate your job, change it.  There really is no tomorrow.

 

4.Not everything happens for a reason, but value can still be drawn from awful things.

If you tell me that my mom got cancer because “everything happens for a reason” or “its part of God’s mysterious plan” I will probably punch you in the face.  Cancer and other tragedies may have causes, but they are tragedies, mostly random, and not part of the Universe’s grand scheme.  But watching my mother’s courage, the joy she took in life even while in pain, her acceptance and offering of love amidst hopelessness, forever changed me for the better.  I am a deeper, more empathetic, more present person solely because of my experience of her suffering and death.  I will not undervalue that gift she continues to give me, ten years on.

 

5.Petty things do not matter.  Ever.

That slight that your coworker gave you, the aggressive driver that cut you off, the hatefulness of the pundit on tv, the remote control that doesn’t work, the computer that crashes.  These things are irrelevant inconveniences that have no effect on your life except that which you give them.  They are as relevant as the puddle you step over to cross the street. Stop giving them importance they do not deserve.  I’ve had full days ruined because I’ve obsessed over a perceived insult. Whole days lost because I gave that power to someone else.  No more.  If you feel slighted, feel it, acknowledge it, laugh at it, and let it go.  As Wayne Dyer says, other peoples’ opinions of me are none of my business.

 

6.Happiness doesn’t exist without sadness.

Like yin and yang, dark and light—we can’t truly experience, understand or value true joy and happiness unless we’ve experienced it’s opposite.  And don’t worry—you won’t have to seek it out: sadness, loneliness, heartbreak and loss will find us all eventually.  But knowing this gives happiness a value and a meaning that it would not otherwise have.  We must revel in our moments of bliss.  We must turn over every rock and look behind every tree to find joy.  But for the sadness of the inevitable moment of death that was coming for my mom, I wouldn’t have had those deep, long moments of true connection.  It took the sadness to push us deeper into our happiness.  We built happiness out of sadness.  Everyone can do this, even when things seem darkest.  Look for the light in the dark.  And if its not there, light a candle and make it exist.

 

 

Thanks, mom.

 

Why You Need to Play More and Work Less. Here’s How to do It.

I recently learned the difference between “intrinsic” value versus “extrinsic” value reading Philosopher Mark Rowland’s Running With the Pack, his wonderful treatise on the joys of running.  If something has “extrinsic value” then the primary reason we do it for the sake of something else.  For example, if the main reason we work a job is to get a check so we can pay our bills, then the value of that job is extrinsic. However, if we do something primarily for the sake of doing it, that something has intrinsic value.  An activity that has intrinsic value is valuable for what it is in itself, and not because of anything else it might allow one to get or possess.

A mother may read to her child at night to help the child develop or fall asleep, but if the main reason she does so is the pure pleasure of it, that is intrinsic value.  When a father tosses the football with his son in the backyard, nothing is being “accomplished.”  They’re doing it for solely for the pleasure of doing it.  Intrinsic value.

“Play” is defined as being engaged with something of intrinsic value.

“Work” is defined as being engaged with something of extrinsic value.

In the western world, we spend a disproportionate amount of time on activities that solely have extrinsic value. The 20th century German philosopher Moritz Schlick wrote in 1927 “I do no know whether the burden of purpose has ever weighed more heavily on mankind than at the present time.  The present idolizes work.”  Not much has changed in ninety years.

There is nothing wrong with working hard.  It’s the reasons behind the work that have often gone astray.  We need to find time to do more things solely for the sake of doing them.  That’s where the joy lies.

I get this when I “play” soccer.  Yes, I get exercise, I enjoy the competition, but that’s not why I do it.  I love the sense of being in the flow, lost in the moment, the movement, the event of it.  I would do it regardless of any other benefit. I get this sometimes when I write, when I get lost in the idea or story I am conveying.  I have been trying to bring this more to my law practice as well, by pulling my attention away from “getting things done” and the billable nature of the work and instead focusing on the ultimate good I hope to provide my clients by helping solve a problem or improving their lives in someway.  This makes the act of doing it much more rewarding.

We all need more play in our lives.  Here are some steps to make that happen:

  1. Find things that you would do solely for the sake of doing them, regardless of any benefit to you and anyone else.Make these activities a priority.  Force yourself to find time to do them and let go of the idea that everything must have a “purpose.”  As Rowland wrote, “it is a necessary condition of something being truly important in life that it have no purpose outside itself—that it be useless for anything else.  Worthlessness—in this sense—is a necessary condition of real value.”
  2. And when you do your “work”—i.,e., the activities that you do to earn money, make your home livable, etc., savor it. Do it for its own sake, not just to get it done or get it over with. As Monk David Steindl-Rast advises, “even people who have to do jobs they don’t like and find meaningless can still be free within them by reminding themselves why they do them.  As long as we do our work out of love for those whom we love, we do it for a good reason.  Love is the best reason for our labors.”

Rethink why you do what you do.  Play more and work less.  That’s where the joy and meaning can be found.   And appreciate those moments when you get them.  Now get out there and play.

Anne Lamott and the Restorative Experience of the Couch Cruise

I woke up Friday morning at my regular time and looked over at the clock, then to the gray sky outside my window, and felt dread.  Whether it was the winter blues, the after-effects of a stressful week or a combination of both, I just wasn’t in the mood to work that day.  I checked my calendar and confirmed I didn’t have any appointments and decided I would give myself a couch cruise.

In her book, Plan B, Anne Lamott writes that when she is stressed, exhausted or overwhelmed, she carries her favorite pillow, comforter, and books to her living room, drops onto the couch and takes a “cruise.”  But even though she knows that she needs a break she finds it hard to justify, because, like most of us, she has much to do.  She writes:

I hate to stop, though I know that to go faster and faster and do more is to move in the direction of death. Continuous movement argues a wasted life. And so I try to create a cruise ship, to carry me back toward living…it’s unbelievable healing; it resets me. Yet it takes time, at least two hours. You can’t rush a cruise ship; you can’t hurry doing nothing. After awhile, you see the sweetest, most invigorating thing of all: one person tenderly caring for another, even if it’s just me taking care of me on my old couch.

And despite having a stack of files waiting for me at my office, I did just that.  At the recommendation of a friend I began the novel Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, which I finished the same day, in about six hours. (An excellent novel, by the way: darker and more complex than the film, perhaps unsurprisingly.)  It felt so good to be still, to be alone, to rest, to check out for a day.  And the fact that I was doing it while the rest of the world was working made it fun, even a bit  . . . naughty.

And then that night I had dinner with friends, spent the next day (a warm sunny one) running and hiking with a friend, and by Sunday I was rejuvenated.  I went into the office and caught up quickly and felt relaxed and ready to start the week.  And it was because I made the choice to just take care of me on my old couch.

Give yourself this gift from time to time.  If chosen wisely, it is not be an act of laziness or failure of motivation, but a regeneration, an energetic, productive activity.  One that we all need but seldom allow ourselves.  When you feel rundown, spent or just sad, give it to yourself.  Happy cruising.

 

Rain

by

Raymond Carver

                                                                            Woke up this morning with

                                                                            a terrific urge to lie in bed all day

                                                                            and read. Fought against it for a minute.

                                                                            Then looked out the window at the rain.

                                                                            And gave over. Put myself entirely

                                                                            in the keep of this rainy morning.

                                                                            Would I live my life over again?

                                                                            Make the same unforgiveable mistakes?

                                                                            Yes, given half a chance. Yes.

                                                        from All of Us: The Collected Poems

Why You Should Take a Smoke Break Every Day (But Skip the Smoking).

My father was a freelance artist and worked from home.  A lifetime smoker, he would work for several hours and then stand up from his drawing board, stretch his back, and tell my brother and I, “it’s time for a smoke break.”  We’d follow him outside, summer or winter, and sit on the back steps for ten to fifteen minutes.  Sometimes we would chat, but mostly we would be quiet, sitting still, watching the sky, the yard, whatever caught our eyes.

Yes, part of this was the need of a smoker to get his fix, but looking back now I know it was much more than this.  Before the term was in vogue, this was my father, and my brother and I by mimicry, being mindful.

My father didn’t take his smoke breaks just when his back was sore or he needed a nicotine hit, but also when he was creatively stuck, needed work through an artistic trouble spot, to come up with new ideas, or just to step away for a moment.  This is what taking a small break in our day, taking the time to do nothing, can give us.  And we all need to take it.  As reported by Maria Konnikova, author of Mastermind: How To Think Like Sherlock Holmes*, doing this can improve our vital signs, such as blood pressure, and improve cognitive function.  She writes:

In recent years, studies have shown that meditation-like thought (an exercise in the very attentional control that forms the center of mindfulness), for as little as fifteen minutes a day, can shift frontal brain activity toward a pattern that has been associated with more positive emotional states.

Mindfulness is a form of meditation, but I don’t want to get hung up on that word. Mindfulness is engaging not in thoughtlessness, but rather thoughtfulness.  It is not what happens when we walk down the street distracted with a conversation we had earlier, making plans for later, checking our text messages.  It is a process of observing, of being present.  Of truly seeing.  And in this state, we see differently.  We think differently.  We see new things and arrive at new answers.  Our productivity is improved by taking this moment of complete non-productivity.

You can achieve mindfulness by sitting lotus position on your meditation mat, but you don’t have to.  You can achieve it sitting on your Adirondack chair on your deck or while running with your dog.  Or you can get it between work sessions by going outside and sitting on the steps with your kids for fifteen minutes a day, like my dad did.  Skip the cigarettes, though.  Those things are bad for you.  But the other part?  Few things are healthier.

 

*http://www.amazon.com/Mastermind-Think-Like-Sherlock-Holmes/dp/014312434X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1393104784&sr=1-1&keywords=konnikova+mastermind

Want to See the World? Do it Now. Here’s How.

After listening to the wonderful Ted Talk “Before I die, I want to ___________” by Candy Chang,* I requested people answer that very question on my Facebook page.  Of the many eclectic answers I received, the highest percentage of responses (40%) expressed a desire to travel, explore and experience the world and other cultures.

I was pleased to hear this as travel is an opportunity that is achievable by almost everyone.  But I was surprised by how many expressed their desire as something to do in the indefinite future, something that would be nice, but not necessarily plausible in the short term.  If you are deferring seeing the world, I encourage you to reconsider.  The experiences you would have now cannot be deferred and are well within your grasp if you are willing to make different choices.  When it to comes to killer traveling tips, I defer to Chris Guillebeau.**  But a simple way for anyone to succeed quickly at being able to explore the world is this: sacrifice your short distance travel for your long distance travel.

Short distance travel is how you get from point A to point B day-in and day-out, every day.  To work, to the grocery story, to the kids’ soccer practice.  Long distance travel is how you achieve that grand experience of stepping out of what’s known to the unknown, the faraway, the exotic, the new, the challenging and life changing.  How do you achieve one by sacrificing the other?  We in the United States, spend, often unthinkingly, an inordinately large amount of our income on our automobiles.

According to a study in by AAA, owning an automobile costs Americans an annual average of $9,122 for a sedan, and $7,000 for a small car and $11,600 for a SUV. The costs included expenses such as fuel, maintenance, insurance, tires and depreciation, but NOT a monthly car payment.

The average cost of a new car hit a new record in August 2013: $31,252.

The average car payment? $630 a month.

That’s a lot of money—our life energy—used to get back and forth from places; money that could take us to the Great Wall of China, to Bali, or to Stonehenge.

But we can change that.

Option 1: You sacrifice the short term by getting rid of your car if you live somewhere with quality mass transit.  Get rid of the auto expense altogether.

Option 2: Reduce the costs of your car by getting rid of your expensive car (or preferably, not buying it in the first place) and opting for something reliable and less expensive.  And then keeping it for a long time.  The money many of us spend on car payments—most of which will never be recovered due to depreciation—can provide invaluable travel experiences.

For example, if you kept your “old” car for one extra year instead of purchasing a new one with the average $630 car payment, here are a few things you could with that money that I randomly found in about ten minutes of searching:

1. For one-month’s car payment, you could buy a roundtrip ticket from San Francisco to San Jose, Costa Rica.

2. For two month’s car payments ($1,260) you can fly from Dayton, Ohio to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (I just bought this ticket for the World Cup this summer) or go to Paris from Chicago and have some money left over.

3. A year of not making this car payment will pay for a weeklong African safari.

The list goes on an on.  We say we want to see the World.  Now let’s give this desire the priority it deserves.  Happy travels!

 

*  http://www.ted.com/talks/candy_chang_before_i_die_i_want_to.html

**  http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/

Why You Should Encourage Rebelliousness in Your Child . . . and in Yourself

                   In the Old Testament story, God pointed out the one forbidden thing that man can’t have: the tree of knowledge.  God must have known very well that man was going to eat the forbidden fruit.  But it was by doing that that man became the initiator of his own life.  Life really began with that act of disobedience.

                                                                                                                     Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

When author Barbara Kingsolver’s daughter was going through a particularly unruly period, seemingly doing everything she could to disobey her mother, Kingsolver called a close friend to lament her child’s behavior and to receive a bit of commiseration.  Instead, her friend paused and then expressed a different concern regarding her own daughter.  “Amanda never went through that,” she said.  “I worry about her.  She works so hard to please everybody.  I’m afraid she’ll never know how to please herself.”  Hearing this Kingsolver said, “a landmine exploded in the back of my consciousness.  My child was becoming all I ever wanted.”*

How much independence, how much self-awareness and self-actualization do we crush in our children, in our quest to make them mind and behave like proper, obedient citizens?  I’m not encouraging permitting spoiled, bratty behavior.  But when guiding our children we need to be cognizant of where we are guiding them to, and who we want them to be when we get there.  We want our children to have proper manners and to know the rules.  And we want these children to have the ability and the discretion to break those same rules and make their own when necessary and appropriate.  It’s our job to teach them the wisdom to know when to do this, and that’s an ongoing lesson for both parent and child.  And it’s a tough one.  Why?  Because so many of us are still struggling with that fear of rebellion in our own lives.

Joseph Campbell wrote that the majority of his friends were living “waste land” lives, explaining that they had reached “the point of making the decision whether they’re going to follow the way of their own zeal—the star that’s dawned for them—or do what daddy and mother and friends want them to do . . . and they are just baffled.” He was in his seventies when he wrote this.  I don’t think his friends were confused teens.

It is worth taking the time, on a daily basis, to be cognizant of the “why” behind our actions, and to question whether or not we’ve ever questioned—no, challenged—this why.  We spend much of our time enslaved by rules and patterns that we aren’t aware we are obeying.  If you are present and aware and decide a that a recurring choice, whether small, like a daily task or habit, or big, like continuing a career, is the correct decision based on your own rules and self-belief, then continue on that path.  If you are doing it because you feel you should or that if you don’t you will disappoint those you love, then rebel.  The price you pay otherwise is too high.  And respect your children and those you love when they make same choices for themselves.

 

*Kingsolver, Barbara, “Civil Disobedience at Breakfast”, High Tide in Tucson. New York: HarperPerrennial (1996).