Give It Some Thought: Endeavor to Live…Now

Endeavor to live so that when you die even the undertaker will be sorry. –Mark Twain

Give It Some ThoughtI came across an article by John C. Maxwell, What are you doing with this gift of life? [Success Magazine] where the author highlights what he believes makes his life useful (read article).  The following paragraph from the article made me laugh since I spent last week with 30 teens–many that expressed in no uncertain terms that they were in a hurry (we start young):

…first I was dying to finish high school and start college. And then I was dying to finish college and start working. And then I was dying to marry and have children. Then I was dying for my children to grow old enough so I could return to work. Then I was dying to retire. And now I am dying and suddenly realize I forgot to live…”

You get the picture.  Many of us would confess we’ve are fully indoctrinated and driven by ours and others “To-Do”, “Honey-Do”, “Gotta Do” “Should Do” “Plan To Do” lists.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for setting worthwhile goals and managing one’s time wisely (I recommended reading – Brian Johnson’s book review on:  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People; then go buy the book).  However, in our over scheduled, over committed and over worked lives–are we choosing to live in the moment–or are we choosing to race through our life driven by our to-do lists?  Maybe we should consider adding the question “What makes my life meaningful”? to our to-do list. (Go ahead, write the question down at the top of your to-do list).

Ironically, most of us are too busy “dealing with life” to actually spend any time considering “how we’re living our life.”  As humans, we are creatures of habits which create our comfort zones.  Until something threatens our livelihood, identity or well being–a bankruptcy, job loss, divorce (insert your biggest fear of failure) or heart attack–we’ll typically remain in our comfort zone despite if it is good or bad; fulfilling or unfulfilling place for us.

Looking for a way to jump start a new beginning?  Here’s 5 ways you can make room to begin living your ideal life:

  1. Define what and who is important?  Right now…in 5 years? Take the time to reflect on what you want to accomplish, the relationships you want to nurture and what you want to invest your time in (add them to your to-do list underneath the question you just noted).
  2. Reexamine and reduce your commitments/to do list. Seriously, if we deduct time for sleeping and working (most of us have to do both)….how many commitments, projects and errands can you do a day–beyond the items listed in item 1 above?
  3. Indulge daily in simple pleasures. Whether writing a love note (to yourself or someone special), enjoying a tasty treat (in San Diego…check out San Diego Desserts—to-die-for) or a totally new experience.  Routinely enjoying a simple pleasure daily goes a long way towards making life more…enjoyable (add it to your to-do list if you must).
  4. Schedule  “me time” each day.  Whether you choose to spend this time in solitude, meditation or enjoying a walk, workout or healthy meal–make this time about you–something that brings you joy, rejuvenation or serenity.  You may also want to use this time to practice being fully present (see below).
  5. Slow down and practice being present. Choose to focus and do one task at a time (I know…moms across the country are going to revolt).  But at least, consider eating slower, driving slower, breathing deeper and slower…heck…if nothing else, just breathe slow and deep where you are at any moment

Just remind yourself– its your life.  Live large. Be free. Now. Before your to-do list takes on a life of its own.

Looking forward to your own tips on how to Live LARGE.

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living.  We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon–instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.” –Dale Carnegie

Eating Right – Lean and Green as Easy as 1-2-3?

If you haven’t heard, the following is in:

-organic food
-home gardening (Thank you Mrs. Michelle O)
-farmer’s markets

What’s out?

-transfats
-super-sized portions
-excuses

I’m as guilty as the next person of knowing the benefits of eating right to prevent my body/mind from taking a unschedule hiatus or wrong turn.  Yet I’m the first to acknowledge I indulge in fast food, suffer from bouts of poor shopping and plain-ole lazy cooking (can you say microwave??). However, by making small but consistent changes, I have managed to drop 25 pounds this year without committing my life to 24Hour Fitness or Jenny Craig.

1-2-3 imageWhat three changes did I make?

1. Mo’ veggies with a good dose of fruits–I kicked the cracker/chip habit and got in touch with my veggie/fruity side.  I made a habit of shopping my neighborhood farmer’s market each week where I also buy a gallon of freshly juiced “green smoothie” (based on a recipe from the Green For Life book). Based on an informal survey where I’ve requested, persuaded or otherwise guilted folks into tasting the green concoction; 9 out of 10 said it didn’t taste bad at all (though they did admit theory were a bit put off by the color [sorry Yoda=-]).

2. Eating breakfast everyday–And I don’t mean McDonald’s.  San Diego company  Kashi makes a number of wholesome-whole grain cereals which I mix together with almonds, dried or fresh fruit and a little Flaxseed for an added fiber boost. Good ole fashion Irish Cut oatmeal; and the favorite of toddlers–Cheerios is also in the cabinet and perfect for a late-night nosh.

3.  Bye-bye frozen dinners–I broke out the crackpot and cookbooks (also the grill when I had male supervision).  The crackpot is a life-savour (pun intended) and allows me to go about my day and return (5-10 hours later) to a hot tasty meal. All I need to toss some veggies with a splash of my favorite low cal salad dressing in a Glad Microwave Steaming Bag–and viola!  Cooking times are noted on the bag so it’s pretty easy to get it right the first time.  My other go-to option?  Whole-grain pasta tossed Olive Feta Tapenade plus Artichoke Hearts and/or Four Bean Salad (all available at CostCo).

I know. I sound like a commercial–or worst your mother.  I learned it is easy to loose ground and gain inches (as my closet will attest).  I invite you to consider making 3 small changes to your eating habits–from kicking the fast food habit to adding lean and green back to your diet.

Love to hear your own go-to, tried and true tips for keeping your diet balanced.

RESOURCES:

San Diego’s Certified Farmer’s Marketshttp://www.sandiego.org/article/Visitors/1419
U-Pick Your Own Farms (SD to LA)http://www.pickyourown.org/CAla.htm#listings
Organic Gardening Classes  – http://www.victorygardenssandiego.com/app_form_bin/class_app.php

Where to Buy Organichttp://www.sdearthtimes.com/et0996/et0996s10.html
Where to Eat Organichttp://www.slowfoodsandiego.org/slowfood.htm

Personal Favorite: The Linkery, a local North Park “farm-to-table” restaurant recognized by Gourmet Magazine, a must if you’re in the neighbor.

Breaking the Fast Food Habithttp://www.experiencelifemag.com/issues/may-2008/weight-loss/break-the-fast-food-habit.html

Bring It On – Summer Connections 2010 – Santa Barbara

Summer Connections 2010 imageI just returned from a powerful, week-long Unity youth retreat at UC Santa Barbara.  Over 30 teens from California and Arizona attended one of four tracks (beginning to advanced topics) specially designed to provide insight and tools on how to identify and work to overcome F E A R (false expectations appearing real) to truly embrace their power.  Check out this Summer Connections 2010 video (audio: Bring It On – Seal)

Without doing a deep dive into the week’s content or hands-on activities, these quotes provide a glimpse into the focus of the week:

Whether you think you can, or think you can’t…you’re right. –Henry Ford

First we make our attitudes. Then our attitudes make us. –Denis Waitley

Nothing is to be feared but fear itself. –Francis Bacon

It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. –Author Unknown

It’s hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head. –Sally Kempton,Esquire, 1970 (personal favorite)

Your thoughts precede your actions; your actions your deeds; your deeds your habits, your habits your destiny. [abridged]

Got me thinking…if  youth across the country were actually exposed and taught how to overcome False Expectations Appearing Real; that their lot in life is not dictated by their circumstances or others; that well-intended but false perceptions and learning do not translate into reality–but instead into limitations which then are often self-imposed…what the world might actually look like in 20 years…any thoughts?

A long life may not be good enough; but a good life is long enough.–Benjamin Franklin

Live Simply San Diego imageRecently, I was inspired by two magazines.  The first,  Our City San Diego (www.ourcitysd.com/) is a quarterly magazine focusing on topics like volunteerism, optimism, perseverance, and living life to the fullest–the first city guide that takes a step beyond the usual “stuff to do.”  The second, Experience Life–Health.Happy.For Realwww.experiencelifemag.com) is one of the few wellness magazines that focuses on the body, mind, AND soul (sorry Oprah–I do love O Magazine [www.oprah.com/omagazine.html]. Both publications resonated with me because they offer stories and insights on how each one of us is called–and can–“live life large”– and how each one of us can make a difference.

2gether4good reflects my intention to share content you may find inspiring or just plain useful–plus a dose of how folks like your and me are pursuing their passions, giving back and making a difference as they embrace their own journey of living life large.

I welcome your thoughts and contributions. Vonniensd (Vonnie in San Diego)