Category Archives: Lighten up

When It’s Time To Stop Trying So Hard

If we want our relationships, our work, our art, our life experience to be amazing, we will need to learn to let go of trying to “do” it right and learn how to have more fun.   There are best practices for everything, from social media, promoting ourselves, growing our business, even our spiritual practice.  There’s always someone to help us get caught up in doing it better, right, doing whatever it is more correctly, more successfully.  It’s all good, but take a minute and breathe.

I believe, from personal experience, that everything, from any particular area of our spiritual growth through our work, relationships, art, everyday experiences, will all flourish and bloom in releasing our need to control or force things into place just so.

When we’re in alignment with our purpose, we’re truly following our heart, we’ll be successful, however success shows up for us on our path.

pexels-photo-258330We can cultivate a wonderful balance in life of work and play.  Many have mastered work equals play.  And, this works great until we think we need more knowledge, to be more perfect, in order to be more successful, or we run into a challenge.

 

This week my challenge is my beautiful SaraDoolittle.com website photos are cut off on a PC.   I’ve now spent hours trying to crop them, trying different aspect ratios, moving the focal point around, trying other photos, emailing my website’s customer service (they’re very nice), and spending hours on user experience with my husband on his PC laptop and me on my MAC laptop.   Ugh.  This was not fun, at all.  Frustrating and time-consuming.

So what to do when it all starts to feel less than fun and more like a grueling task and my mood goes to hell in a hand basket?   I take breaks.

 

Yesterday we walked away from house projects and website projects.  We went to our favorite baked potato restaurant, visited a couple of art galleries, took a photo to be framed, and enjoyed a farmer’s market.  It can be just a few minutes or several hours, whatever it is will assist us more than pushing through a challenge.  Why?  When we have fun, loosen up, we allow for the best ideas and solutions to come to us.

So I pay attention to how I feel when I’m in task/work mode except for when I don’t 🙂   When I do walk my talk, I ask myself how I feel.  How is my level of energy?  It doesn’t have to be OMG this is SO AMAAAAZINGGGG EXCITING kind of energy, but rather just a feeling of hey, I’m enjoying this.  I love what I’m doing right now.  Or, just I’m in the zone, this feels nice.

It’s good to know how to practice self-kindness and assist ourselves and enjoy being more.  I’m still practicing this.  As an ex-“uber-doer”, it’s so worth it to practice this balance.

Habits That Create The Best Possibilities (for me)

Here are some things I practice to be aware of.  We all have our own ways to be at our best and attract our best possibilities and these may or may not work for you.  It’s whatever supports you and empowers you.  For me, with so many experiences that I’m having just about every day now, it’s helpful to remember and practice whatever feels right at the time.  It’s pretty ordinary yet offering a beautiful shift in my day.

  • Practicing self-kindness by doing all the things I enjoy every day such as yoga and meditation, making time for exercise, and time for art.IMG_1843I’m not at my best when I let these things slide and, at this writing, some of these have been sliding off the scale. So off I go to walk on my favorite nature trail.
  • Watching my self-talk and turning it around when it goes south
  • Being my real-deal self.  You’re great too, but I don’t want to be you.
  • Remember that it’s nearly impossible to make a difference by playing it safe, or be a people pleaser.
  • Build a small community of support and let the unsupportive relationships fade
  • Allow others to assist me and remember to ask how I can assist them
  • Cultivate lightheartedness no matter what.  Lightheartedness brings opportunities.
  • Notice when I play smaller because of fear, insecurity, or some other lower emotion.  Remember it’s not the truth, and get back to being my magnificent self.
  • Gratefulness for pretty much everything
  • Being good with sometimes feeling uncomfortably stretched, and therefore vulnerable, and standing out for unusual ideas.  It’s a game…wonder what I’ll do today that will be a stretch for me?  But this is not to be confused with pushing ahead on something that’s not in my best interest.
  • Use my imagination and imagine me already doing that which I want to do and the opportunities show up to assist me.
  • Take a stand for the seemingly impossible possibilities
  • Create incremental changes and look back once in a while just to appreciate how far I’ve come
  • Enjoy a relationship with my awesomely mind-blowing amazing guidance that’s always there within me, always encouraging, supporting, assisting, loving me
  • Be both uncomfortably stretched and happy at the same time.  See those feelings that seem to be at odds, as success.

Aligning With Our Purpose – It Isn’t Possible…

…to make a mistake.  All it takes is a dance.  To realize our dreams takes perseverance, action, letting go of total control, and experiencing joy.  It isn’t an intimidating dance, just a series of steps.  When I dance I have some unique moves, especially when driving.  In the car I sing and dance but I still hold back when I pull up to traffic lights.

My desire is to take those joyful feelings when I dance and sing in my car, and to also feel them in everything I do.  And, from what I’ve experienced, aligning with our purpose takes a good amount of lightheartedness.  We create our best expression of ourselves by aligning with that which brings us joy.

Do you believe you need to learn more, figure it all out before taking steps, or be more perfect first?  You know yourself better than anyone.  Sometimes there’s a handy dandy excuse to play smaller and hold back.  But sometimes you may want to wait for a good reason.  But there’s probably some step you can take.  It’s only for you to know.  All the friends, family, self-help gurus, coaches, counselors, advisors, leaders, will not know you like you know you.  You can run your considerations by those you trust, but at the end of the day, it’s how you feel.  Learning to read how we feel and making decisions from our own feelings is a good place to be.  You’ll figure it out, it’s you learning you.  You can’t make a mistake.

There’s lots of thoughts and feelings that help light the way.  CreateLearning to pay attention to them is very helpful.  If there’s excitement around the action you’re taking, that’s awesome.  From your actions, you’ll receive what you need, even if it’s not necessarily what you think you need.  Making decisions out of fear or worry, doesn’t result in the most terrific of possibilities.  However, feeling genuinely excited and joyful, creates our best opportunities.  We might even find our best opportunities challenge us…in a good way.

My analyzing and perfecting sucked the joy out of a moment faster than I could sneeze.  I had to learn what living joyfully meant.  Duh right?  I was waiting for it to happen as a result of doing certain things. I learned it’s about cultivating a lighter state of mind, anytime.

Seems to me we have more than one purpose in our lifetime, some we share with all of humanity, plus those that are unique to each of us.  Perhaps one of the purposes we share with humanity is learning to release our heaviness and to live more joyfully.  Also seems like a good path towards experiencing unconditional love.  Cultivating lightheartedness.

When the glitter wore off

My husband is an expert gift wrapper.  No detail is left undone…the edges are crisp, the bows are perfect, you don’t see any tape because he hides it and there’s not one ounce of ugly.  I however, am a disaster, and the final product looks as though I left my glasses in another room while I wrapped it.  One Christmas, back when we were dating, I wanted to impress him and wrapped his presents in thick gold glitter paper and silver glitter paper.  Tasteful not tacky, I promise.  I bought the paper at a lovely stationary store but they neglected to tell me that it’s best to use special tape because the paper is really really thick and the regular tape won’t stick to glitter.  Yup, the wrapping popped open, many many times before the official gift opening. Between the gifts unwrapping themselves and the teensy weensy little glitter falling all over my floor, furniture, and getting stuck to my face…the novelty wore off.  I still have that paper tucked away in a closet and I tried it once more for a wedding present.  And you know what?  My husband always chuckles when he sees my wrapping jobs, he thinks it’s cute…I didn’t need the glitter, he loves my kid-like wrapping.

My interest in spirituality began with looking for the glitter, not that it registered as that at the time.  I searched high and low for information, answers, the best teachers, and the more woo-woo the more glittery they were to me, and the more interested I was.  Even though I spent a lot of time with the glitter I don’t feel I wasted my time because it led me to learning that wasn’t what I was looking for after all.  It took many years but I found what I was looking for and it’s way simple.

 

It’s different for everyone.  What one person needs, another doesn’t.  What another person resonates with, someone else may feel empty with.  One person’s unfulfilling glitter experience might be a life changing experience for another.  The important thing is remembering that as we look around to enjoy ourselves, don’t take it too seriously because lightheartedness assists us more than anything and, anyway, we already have what we’re looking for we just have to open to it.

I Know More Than Squat Now

I didn’t know squat before about managing my awareness, my energy, or about how I was creating (usually creating what I didn’t want to experience).  There was me controlling things by making them happen because I could….Miss Organized.  And there was the philosophy of things just happen.  Life happens.  Well I feel totally differently now as experienced by everything I’m learning.  I’m learning to use my intuition rather than take a velvet hammer to my life and pound it into it’s organized place.  I’m learning to catch myself before I go down the various rabbit holes of discouragement.  Then there’s creating.  Had zero knowledge that I create what I experience from my thoughts and habits, among other things.

There are ideas I’m creating and working on, there are interesting people I’m meeting, and my every moments, large and small, are lovely.  I can’t wait to walk down the hall to my office every morning to get to work on some of my ideas.  What’s funny is I’m waaaayyy more open and lighthearted.  I’m effusive but hopefully not annoyingly so.  If I really like a business I’m dealing with I send them an email and tell them all the things I like about them and thank them profusely.  Then I wonder if it might not be a good time to ground myself.  I wrote two thank you notes two times last week and wasn’t the least bit embarrassed for myself.  One of the “gushees” even sent me a nice extra discount for future use.  More reason to gush.

My feeling is that lightheartedness is contagious.  img_9122Yesterday I watched my husband walk over to the paint person at Lowes and told her how nicely stocked the paint can aisles looked and asked her if she did it.  Ok random example he might wish I didn’t share, but point being, she lit up with a big smile. Yesterday I went to a vegan class at Whole Foods (yes friends my face will get even thinner…again…bite me…this time I’m sticking with it) and a woman asked me you probably get this all the time, has anyone told you that you look like Jill Biden?  Happily I said, only one other person. THANK YOU, I LOVE Jill Biden and then I added and Joe, and Michelle and Barack.   And then I thanked her for not telling me I looked like Steffy Graff as the checkout person at Safeway told me.  Steffy is awesome I just don’t think I look like her.  You’re looking at my photo aren’t you and thinking I don’t think she looks like Jill Biden.  Whatever.  I don’t think I look like Jill either but how nice of the woman to say so.

I have no idea where I’m going with this other to say that I believe the world shifts one tiny moment at a time.  When we feel nice we behave nicely.  I’m personally experiencing joy and inspiration as a result of what I choose to focus on, where I place my thoughts.  I know way more than squat now and I’m enormously benefiting from it.

Invitation to enjoy

I just received my formal Invitation.  For a while now, I’ve had an ongoing informal invitation for joy.  Sometimes I show up for it but then I get lazy and go back to serious, analytical mode…What’s down the road?  What will the end result look like?  How do I get there?  Am I doing enough?  Am I enough?  Will I make a difference? 

Jeez, I don’t have to take my freaking “journey” so seriously.  It’s not just about doing what I love to do, because that’s the easier part. The greater challenge for me is, what frame of mind am I in when I’m doing what I love.

Yesterday my doctor calls and tells me I have to go back for another test because they see something.  I have two ways to deal with this and both made an appearance….1-Bad word.   Just when my life is totally kick-ass I’m going to die.  OR, 2-It’s probably nothing they’re just being extra buttoned up which is great, that’s their job. I’m going to approach this with a light heart and trust it’s all going to be fine.  And I went with #2 and gratefully it ended with…”you’re good, come back in six months just to be sure”.

The possibility of having something truly serious and truly challenging in my life got my attention.  It wouldn’t have been the same old worries and internal dialog that usually consume my thoughts.  Whatever the outcome today or going forward will be, the situation appeared as an invitation to show up in my own life differently.  Sea Ocean Sand Beach Vacation Coast Chill Bare ConceptIt’s such a good time to accept this invitation because I’m ready to start creating some exciting things and what better time to enjoy myself.  I’m hearing “accept and enjoy every invitation…there’s one every second”.