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There is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. -- John Ruskin

>> 29 December 2009


Do you like bad weather?

Do you like rain, fog, gray drizzle? Do you like humid and cold weather conditions?

I used to dislike that kind of weather very much.

It curls up my hair. I have to carry an umbrella, which tends to always be in the car when I'm in the office or vice versa.

People are aggressive on the street hurrying, trying to get past me into the dry and warm safety of the next shop. Malls are over filled with people escaping boredom at home. I am cold and wet when outside and too hot and sticky when inside.

People are often in a bad mood. And even when they are not, they are still complaining about the weather.

I used to be one of them.

Now I have come to like this weather. I don't love it to pieces, but I really appreciate it.

How come?

Well, I started running.

And with a busy schedule and hence limited time to run, I have the choice sometimes between running outside in the rain or in the basement on the treadmill.
I used to choose the treadmill: no need to put on 3 layers of clothing, no coming home all wet and muddy, being able to stop when I felt like it (which is usually a lot earlier than what a good exercising plan recommends), being able to watch tv or listen to an audiobook while running... The advantages are numerous.

But it is also very boring to run inside and especially on a treadmill.

And I have come to like the diversity of running outside in all kinds of weather.

I ran through a snowy landscape a few days ago. The wind was blowing snowflakes in my face. The fields were a different kind of white depending on whether they were pure soil, or grass, or left over weeds.
It smelled like winter. Like Christmas. Like holidays when I was a kid building igloos in our back yard.

I ran through icy rain today. Just a slight drizzle, putting a layer of little droplets on my lashes.

The ground was still frozen solid in certain places and I sometimes had to walk, or escape onto the grassy and less slippery side of the road. I could not run at my usual pace, but it gave me a whole new and different workout.

In the forest it was dead quiet except for those big raindrops that gather on a leaf and fall off when the load becomes too heavy. When they hit your face it's like someone dropped a goblet of water on you.

There was absolutely noone around and I felt alone, but in a good way.

When I get home from a run in the outdoors, I feel good.
The kind of good you felt as a child when you had been playing outside, climbing trees the whole afternoon.
The kind of good you feel when you have accomplished something and are proud of yourself.
The kind of good that can make you go on for another 5K, climb a high mountain, master an almost impossible task, do what you thought was impossible.

Yes, that kind of good.

And that is why I like bad weather, because in some weird way, it makes me feel really good.

Oh, and it also has the added advantage of making you less bored and aggressive :-)
And we could all use that...

So next time the weather is bad, and you're bored and feeling kind of edgy, go outside and brave the elements.

I guarantee you that you will like it. And if not, if it did not make you see things from a different angle, let me know and I will send you a free gift that will.

Read more...

Laugh a lot, and when you're older, all your wrinkles will be in the right places

>> 23 December 2009


Laugh, and your day will be brighter,
laugh, and your burden will be lighter.

Laugh, and make it contagious,
laugh, and become courageous.

Laugh, and the pain becomes bearable,
laugh, and anything is wearable.

Laugh, deep down from your belly,
laugh, till your legs turn to jelly.

Laugh, and tell something funny,
laugh, and don't worry about money.

Laugh, and create joy around you,
laugh, and touch if only a few.

Laugh, and create an instand bond,
laugh, and even pygmies will respond.

Laugh, and if you don't remember how,
click here and it will teach you now.

Laugh, and if you need some inspiration,
laugh, and try this anti-frustration.


(c) Mindful Mimi - December 2009

Thanks to Weekend Wordsmith for triggering this post with their Laugh prompt.

Read more...

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see -- Henry David Thoreau

>> 18 December 2009


-- or, Does Seth Godin bike to work?


Seth Godin, Purple Cow guru named 'America's greatest Marketer' (by American Way magazine), writes a very atypical blog.

He writes a post almost every day.
And from reading them you can just see him biking to work every morning (I don't know him well enough to know whether he does this or not but he seems that kind of guy to me) thinking about something someone said last night, or about the funny kid he sees in the street or the ad he saw on tv last night.

Sometimes his posts are just that, thoughts. Or thought provoking statements. Or questions.

Sometimes I don't get it.

Sometimes I do - and I have one of those A-ha moments (no, not the Norwegian band!).
And I think 'shoot, I wish everybody else got this too'.

Anyhoo, he just published a free e-book about What matters Now - which should be really all we care about anyway.

It's 80 pages of his tribe writing about topics ranging from Generosity over Strengths and Consequence to Neoteny.

And if you don't know what any of these mean, or just want to know what some influential people have to say about what matters NOW, go get that free e-book.

Read more...

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple -- Dr Seuss

>> 15 December 2009

Today I would like to ask you 3 questions

  1. What 3 things are you proudest of accomplishing in 2009?

    They can be big things, small things. Things that are important just to you, that made a difference to your family or made the world a better place.

  2. What 1 new thing do you want to accomplish in 2010?

    This should be your number one priority, the one thing you focus on every day and that you want to have finished by the end of next year.

    It can of course be something intangible like being a good partner to your loved one, or being a good parent. But I presume this is something we all strive to achieve.

    So, make your goal different from your family. Make it something that is part of who you are, the dream you have. Something like hiking through Nepal and setting up a charity, starting your own business or learning a new skill.

    You do not have to know the HOW. But you should be very clear on the WHAT.

  3. What is your 2010 Word of the Year?

    Since I heard about and met Christine Kane, I learned about how resolutions have a tendency to fail because they only address the DO level of your life (quit smoking, loose weight - the classic to do's for a new year).

    Christine started selecting a word to guide her through the year which puts you and your actions much more in the BE level of your life. The word you choose becomes the guiding force throughout the year - it grows with you, changes meaning and goes much deeper than a simple 'I need to get more organised'.
Think about the above questions for a while and leave me your answers in the comment section.


Here are my answers:

Things I am proud to have accomplished in 2010:
  1. I am proud to have found a satisfactory level of work-life balance. I work 4 days a week, which allows me to be implicated and professional at work without being too stressed. It also allows me to be at home on the afternoons my kids are free. Thanks to my parents who love to babysit, I have one afternoon per week for myself.

  2. I am proud to have finished my first picture book for children together with a brilliant illustrator. It shall be launched as an e-book early next year. You can have a preview here as read by little Elsie who also teaches you to draw Rufus and Lele.

  3. I am very proud to have started two amazing projects:
    • I set up some creative workshops to cater to my own lack of creativity at work. I ended up being asked to set up a pilot workshop on creative thinking with my company's HR. The pilot will take place in February.
    • I worked out a concept to bring the corporate to charity. By organizing team building activities with and for local charities, the beneficiaries are not only the community and the company but also the helping employees.
The one thing I want to accomplish in 2010:

I want to start my own business. I have an idea and it's of course closely linked to the above mentioned two projects. All I have to do now is figure out a way to make it happen. That's what 2010 is all about :-)

My word of the year 2010:

CREATE :

My word for 2009 was serenity and although I am not serene every minute of my life, I have achieved a level of serenity that make me happy. I am still flipping out from time to time and my kids can drive me up the wall. But I also know how to calm down, how to get back to being serene.

The projects I started this year were all about creativity. And I want to make creativity the red thread leading through 2010. All I want to do is create. Whether it's art, photography, a good home, children's books, a loving relationship, my blog, creative thinking workshops, the charity. I want to be the one who creates the way all these things look, work and feel. I want to make them all colorful and individual.

I want to continue creating this world around me that's fun, happy, loving...ME.

Read more...

In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they're still beautiful -- Alice Walker

>> 10 December 2009


WEIRD

From his birth they knew something was off,
the doctor said so with an irritating cough.

He was slower than other kids his age,
he could so easily work himself into a rage.

His mother told him she loved him every day,
trying to keep others' harsh comments at bay.

When he grew up kids would make fun of him,
saying 'you're weird' and pushing him at the gym.

He talked slowly and walked in a funny way,
hence becoming everyone's easy prey.

They sent him away to live in a special place,
where he was allowed to move at his own pace.

There were other kids who thought he was funny,
making the new place suddenly seem sunny.

'Am I weird?' he asked his teacher after a while,
'Weird and wonderfully beautiful.' she said with a smile.



(c) Mindful Mimi - December 2009

Thanks to
for prompting this poem on the theme of Weird.

Read more...

To me, old age is always fifteen years older than I am. -- Bernard M. Baruch

>> 7 December 2009


She is turning 40 next week.

She has been reflecting about what that number means. Whether it should mean anything at all.

It is different from when she turned 30.
Then it was all about finding the man of her dreams or not, about ever having babies or not.

She had made her peace with a life without them.
Until she met the man and had two lovely babies.

Now it's more about finding the right balance between work and family.
About a purpose in life that has to be more than just a 9 to 5 job in sales.
About all sorts of forms of creating: painting, writing, photographing, educating, combining creativity and charity, creativity and the corporate world, and potentially turning all that into a business.

She does not feel 40. She didn't feel 30 either. She never really felt her age.
Forty is middle age isn't it?
She doesn't feel like she's in the middle of her life.

She is a wife, responsible for love, laughter and support in a partnership.
She is a mother of two, responsible for their lives, their education, their happiness, their well being, their health.

Somehow she still can't believe that.

Somehow she still feels like a kid - even more so now that she has someone to jump around with.
Somehow she still feels like a teenager - though she is no longer lost or insecure (well, not that much anyway).

She wonders whether other people feel like this too.
Or whether they have it all figured out.

Forty doesn't seem old all of a sudden. Maybe 55 is when you start to be old?

She feels comfortable, at ease with herself.
She has figured out that life is about the journey, not about getting there.
She has learned that the now is all we have.
She has experienced the positive impact of complaining less, of intending more.

It doesn't always work. She doesn't always manage.
She has a nervous breakdown or a crying or screaming fit from time to time.

The difference at forty is that, instead of hiding and feeling sorry for herself for a week, instead of blaming her life on other people, instead of thinking this is the end of the world, now, she accepts it, notices it, learns from it, forgives herself and gets up again the next day.


What did you realize when you turned 40? or 30? or 50? or...?

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Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls -- Joseph Campbell

>> 18 November 2009

So many people spend their days moaning, complaining, criticizing, gossiping, blaming.

We seem to connect a lot of things that happen to us to outside circumstances:

- My colleague prevents me from doing my job properly
- My partner makes me feel like shit
- My parent's upbringing is responsible for my depression
etc.
- If only I were thinner, then I would find a boyfriend and I'd be happy.

But it's all a question of attitude really.

If you think these things prevent you from being happy and successful, then you are right.
If your mind accepts that you are a victim, then you are.
If you make others responsible for your happiness, then they are.

And as Oprah so rightly says 'We teach people how to treat us'. So if we behave like a victim, we become one and people will treat us like one.

If however, we choose to decide that we will just use such walls in our life to learn from them, to change our outlook on them, to change our attitude and behavior towards them, then these walls will become doors.

What is it that makes you itch about your colleague? And why? Often our reactions say more about ourselves than they do about other people.

We cannot change other people, we can only change ourselves and our attitude towards them.

Sometimes that means speaking up, confronting, fighting.
Sometimes that means being happy despite the behavior, because we realize it is not that important.
Sometimes it means breaking up, looking for another job, moving away.

Sometimes it simply means you have to change a little thing and things start shifting.

Sometimes the easiest way to fight the negative is to surround yourself with lots of positive.

Look around you. What bothers you? What drains your energy? Do you know why?

Do you know how to switch from a complaining victim attitude to an action taking attitude?

What can you do today to make a little shift?

Read more...

A picture of you

>> 13 November 2009

Have you ever been asked to provide a picture of what you consider to be your passion/hobby?

Would you consider this an easy task?

I came across so many questions and thoughts:

  • a picture is something defining
  • one picture is limiting
  • how much do I want to show?
  • will people know it's me when they see this?
So below is ME. Or at least a big part of me.


I decided to provide a mosaic using the Mosaic Maker:

Go to Flickr.
Type your hobbies into Flickr Search.
Use only the first page of results, and pick one image.
Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into Big Huge Lab’s Mosaic Maker to create a mosaic of the picture answers.


Show me your mosaic:

Photo credits:

Read more...

Departed

>> 10 November 2009


Is it the time of year?
Or why is death so near?

Leaves are falling,
the earth is calling.

The sun is not bright anymore,
rain and fog have the winning score.

The trees look faint,
there is no color to paint.

Those who are sick get weak,
prognosis seems bleak.

Leaves fall and return in spring,
people go and just leave an empty swing.

It balances with each souvenir,
of the person we have held so dear.

A moment spent happy with laughter,
never to be forgotten thereafter.


(c) Mindful Mimi - November 2009

Thanks to
for prompting this poem on the theme of Departed.

Read more...

True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new -- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

>> 1 November 2009

The last few days I have been very creative painting. To the point that there are paint stains on my nice white keyboard :-)

In line with a painting I did a while ago, below is the result of recent creative outpour.

And here is a painting done by my sons today.




Read more...

Blog for cause: A world without breast cancer

>> 29 October 2009


I am sure you know someone who has or has had cancer. Maybe that person was a family member, maybe a friend. Maybe that person is no longer with us, or maybe that person is fighting a daily, difficult battle.

I've had my share of such people. Most of them are gone now. Thinking about them keeps them alive. Doing something to support the search for a cure gives their death a purpose.

The Susan G. Komen foundation is the leading breast cancer movement in the world, working together with people from all reaches of the world, in search of a cure.

Today, you have the opportunity to help support the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization.

Lance from Jungle of Life and Joanna Sutter from Fitness and Spice have teamed up to create an e-book.

This is the collective effort of over 150 writers from throughout the world. Writers uniting together in a race for the cure.

Every one of these writers has contributed a favorite article to this e-book, creating a wonderful collection of stories. Stories of inspiration, personal growth, fitness, food, humor, and more.

I am proud to be one of them.

Please visit the Susan G. Komen Blog-4-Cause website to learn how you can support the mission to end breast cancer. In addition, you'll find information on how to recieve this Blog-4-Cause E-book, our gift to you. A bonus e-book, from author and life coach Tim Brownson, is included as well.

There is much hope in a future filled with possibility. Together, we all can make a difference!

Read more...

Art is a mould in which to imprison for a moment the shining elusive element which is life itself -- Willa Sibert Cather

>> 26 October 2009


Happiness is a concept so elusive
that many a search for it is inconclusive.

Happy moments can show their faces
in a subtle instant, in many places.

Those who recognize the fleeting seconds
notice they happen more often than one reckons.

Those who are able to add them all up
little by little fill their happiness cup.

Ending the day with a list of gratitude
will slowly but surely change your attitude.



(c) Mindful Mimi - October 2009

Thanks to
for prompting this poem on the theme of Elusive.

Read more...

If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one -- Mother Teresa

>> 19 October 2009

Read more...

The more it's fun, the more people want to do it...

>> 14 October 2009

...or, how to get people to take the stairs.




So how can you add some fun to the things you need people to do? Or your own tasks?
It is sometimes easier than you think.

Post your ideas/suggestions in the comment section.

Read more...

The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it -- Richard Bach

>> 6 October 2009

I have just come across this original project by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

The Beckoning of Lovely
is an expanding film project involving hundreds of strangers from around the world. Amy Krouse Rosenthal initiated the project last fall by filming a spontaneous public gathering on 8/08/08 at "The Bean" in Millennium Park. The event was a beautiful testament to the power of community, cooperation, and hope amongst strangers in the name of all things lovely. The project has since evolved into the making of a full-length feature film.



One year later



She is also a children's book author. And that speaks to me greatly at the moment. I love such versatile and creative people.

Read more...

16 simple pleasures of a week away

>> 28 September 2009


We just spent a week on an island in the South of France and around Marseille and I just wanted to share a few simple pleasures with you that I encountered there.

  1. Building sand castles with my boys.
  2. Naked baby butts crusted with sand.
  3. The silence of an island with no cars.
  4. Running through a new landscape.
  5. Naked feet in flip flops all day long.
  6. Discovering new restaurants.
  7. The smell of pine trees in the heat.
  8. The never ending sound of crickets.
  9. The sun's red ball sinking into the sea.
  10. Not having 'to do' anything.
  11. Looking for pine cones, perfect pebbles, seed pods...
  12. Sitting outside at the end of September at 10 pm and it's still warm.
  13. Squealing kids in the trailer while mountain biking on wobbly trails.
  14. Husband in swimsuit...
  15. The healthy tiredness from being outside all day.
  16. No television, no news.

Read more...

Children see... Children do...Make your influence positive

>> 14 September 2009

This is a very thought provoking video about the influence we have on children.

Children learn by copying the behavior they see around them. And if you are a parent, you know this very well at the latest by the time you hear your three year old say a word he isn't supposed to even know in his sweet innocence.

But also other family members and friends have their influence.
Wherever you are in sight of a child, your behavior is being watched and maybe copied.

And if you don't want to feel like you're living in the Big Brother house, the best way is to always behave impeccably.

Utopia?
Maybe.

But awareness alone can make a change.
Be that change.

Read more...

The future belongs to right brainers

>> 8 September 2009

Lawyers. Accountants. Computer programmers. That's what our parents encouraged us to become when we grew up. But Mom and Dad were wrong. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind. The era of "left brain" dominance, and the Information Age that it engendered, are giving way to a new world in which "right brain" qualities-inventiveness, empathy, meaning-predominate. That's the argument at the center of this provocative and original book, which uses the two sides of our brains as a metaphor for understanding the contours of our times.
Here’s a simple mind map of the book for those of you who want a brief overview.
Here is a ten minute video created by Steve Cunningham which contains an excellent summary of “A Whole New Mind”:

Read more...

Introducing Rufus and Lele

>> 7 September 2009

You may have read that I have been working on a children's book.

It is almost ready and before I go campaigning :-) I wanted to lift the tip of the veil and introduce you to the main characters:
my son Loïc (in the book named Lele) and his best friend/stuffed lion Rufus.

The book is based on a real event and is written in both prose and rhyme. It will be launched as an e-book first and being the fan of 'real' paper books, I hope it will one day make it to print.

I have discovered a lovely collaboration space where writers and illustrators meet and create children books together. If you are interested in this space, have your own story or images and are only looking for another half to make it come to life, Memetales is the place to go (simply sign up to be included into the magic world or join the group on Facebook)

So if these two chaps look charming to you, be patient, you will soon be able to read the whole story.

Read more...

On being creative - and finding your passion

>> 5 September 2009


Being creative is so much fun. It definitely fills my cup at the moment.

And I haven't even been painting much lately.

My creativity was concentrated on setting up a third session of my Creative Workshops at work and have them taken up in the company's training catalogue (Yay!).

I have also worked on a corporate social responsibility project that I would like to get off the ground at our workplace. So far we are well on track.

And my first children's book 'Rufus' first night alone' is almost finished in both prose and rhyme. You will hear about the launch soon.

And I am equally excited about all of the above - which explains why my blog lately goes from one Sunday laugh to another without much substance in between. The fun is clearly happening outside of blogging world.

Lately I have been talking with people about creativity a lot. And these discussions have led into many different directions: from how creativity relates to quantum physics to how one can find one's passion.

And I think the last one is the secret of creativity:

PASSION = CREATIVITY

If you find your passion, you are bound to be creative independent of the field your passion is in.
Whether you love to create images on your computer that look real but do not exist or whether you can see yourself entering the delicatessen world.

The secret is realizing what your passion is and then pursuing it. And when it comes to pursuing it, most people never get off the ground. They seem to find themselves so many reasons to remain in their status quo. They see their passion, their plan as a big elephant, as the big project and they just do not know how or where to begin.

And it is so very easy: Baby steps.

Just start by doing one thing (attend that delicatessen fair, or buy that computer program which allows you to manipulate your pictures).

And when that baby step is done and you have had the satisfaction of ticking it off your list, choose the next one (working out one product line of delicatessen, publishing one picture on a dedicated website). And so on.

We often get held back because we only see the big elephant project. But even an elephant moves by setting one foot in front of the other.

So what is your passion?

What are you doing to get closer to living it?

What are the baby steps you can do now and achieve?

Read more...

In Summer the song sings itself - William Carlos Williams

>> 24 August 2009

I went running through the woods yesterday and nature just looked so inspiring that I had to write it down...


August ending

How dark it gets in the woods on the shadow side of the hill
A fresh breeze of air and how it makes your skin feel

The leaves next to you are moving but you don’t feel the wind through the heat
The earthen smell of summer ending makes your heart skip a beat

A clear blue sky and a playful wind tousles the cornfield
Look at those trees and all the fruit they yield!

The sunshine through the leaves draws a kaleidoscope of color
It makes the forest look so much taller

The pretty spectacle makes you want to say thank you
You feel like hugging a tree and then you just do


(c) Mindful Mimi - August 2009

Read more...

Does Nirvana Reside in the Right-Side of the Brain?

>> 20 August 2009

Today I am sharing an article from Marelisa Fabrega with you. Her Abundance Blog is very inspiring and I recommend you check it out.


Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a Harvard-trained brain scientist who suffered a stroke in 1996–at the age of 37–in the left hemisphere of her brain. She spoke of her experience at the 2008 TED Conference and wrote a memoir titled “My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey”.

Dr. Taylor was named one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People in 2008.

In both the TED.com talk and the book she describes what the four hours felt like during which she was having the stroke and she watched her brain completely deteriorate in its ability to process information, and what life was like afterward. In addition, Dr. Taylor explains her discovery that through the right hemisphere of the brain, the part of her brain that was untouched by the stroke, inner peace is just a thought away.

In case you’re wondering, that is a real human brain Dr. Taylor is holding in the image above. She used it as a “prop” during her Ted.com Talk. You can find out a lot more about this remarkable woman and her fascinating experience below.

The Human Brain: Each Hemisphere Has Its Own Personality


Dr. Taylor explains in her TED.com talk that if you’ve ever seen a human brain, it’s obvious that the two hemispheres are completely separate from each other; that is, the two cerebral cortices are completely separate from one another.
If you’re familiar with computers, the right brain hemisphere functions like a parallel processor, while the left hemisphere functions like a serial processor. Because they process information differently, each of our brain hemispheres thinks about different things, they care about different things, and, Taylor argues, they even have very different personalities. The two hemispheres do communicate with each other through the corpus callosum but, other than that, the two hemispheres are completely separate.
(Image taken from here)

Our right hemisphere is all about this present moment; it’s all about right here, right now. It thinks in pictures and abstractions and it learns kinesthetically through the movement of our body. Information in the form of energy streams in simultaneously through all of our sensory systems and then it explodes into a collage of what this present moment looks like, smells like, tastes like, sound like, and feels like.

Dr. Taylor explains that we are energy beings connected to the energy all around us through the consciousness of our right brain hemispheres.
Our left hemisphere is a very different place. It thinks linearly and methodically. It’s all about the past and about the future. It’s designed to take that collage of the present moment and pick out detail after detail; it then categorizes and organizes all of that information, associates it with everything in the past we’ve ever learned, and projects into the future all of our possibilities.

The left side of our brain thinks in language. It’s the internal brain chatter that connects us to the external world. It’s the calculating intelligence that reminds us when we have to do the laundry and pick up bananas on the way home. And most importantly, it’s the voice that tells each of us: “I am”. And as soon it says that, each of us becomes separate from the energy all around us and separate from everyone else. That’s the portion of the brain that Taylor lost on the morning of her stroke.

Some of the Things Taylor Experienced While Having Her Stroke

This information about some of the things Dr. Taylor experienced as she was having her stroke was taken from her Ted.com Talk:

  • She looked down at her arm and she realized she could no longer define the boundaries of her body. She could not define where she began and where she ended. The atoms and the molecules in her arm blended with the molecules and atoms in the wall. And all she could detect was energy.
  • Her brain chatter went totally silent. It was as if someone had taken a remote control and pushed the mute button. She found herself inside a silent mind.
  • Then she was captivated by the magnificence of the energy around her.
  • Because she could no longer feel the boundaries of her body, she felt enormous and expansive. She felt as one with all the energy surrounding her. And it was beautiful. It was Nirvana. Any stress related to her job was gone. Any stressors from the outside world were gone, and she felt a sense of complete peacefulness. She lost 37 years of emotional baggage.
  • She was lost in an existence of love and expansiveness, of color and energy. She adds the following: “In the wisdom of my dementia, I understood that this body was, by the magnificence of its design, a precious and fragile gift. It was clear to me that it functioned like a portal through which the energy of who I am can manifest here. I wondered how I could have spent so many years in this construct of life and never realize I was just visiting.”

Life in La-la Land

Taylor explains that when the cells in her left brain became nonfunctional because they were swimming in a pool of blood, they lost their ability to inhibit the cells in her right hemisphere.

In her right brain, she shifted into the consciousness of the present moment. She had no memories of her past and no perception of the future, but was instead in a “right here, right now, the present moment is all there is” awareness. She calls this experience being in La-la land, and adds that everything was an explosion of magnificent stimulation and she felt complete euphoria.

Describing this state, she sounds like a mystic. “All details of my life and language were gone. Language is a kind of code, and things were no longer reduced to coding. I was looking at the big picture and could see how everything is related. Everything is in motion, connected in a dance of grace. The brain is what imposes boundaries, and boundaries convey a perception of separation, but that’s a delusion. Everything is one . . . I got to sit in the space of silence gurus meditate toward for years.” (Source).

However, in many crucial ways, for a long time after having her stroke she was like an infant. She couldn’t talk, she had forgotten how to walk, and math and reading were gone. Someone gave her the pieces of a baby’s puzzle and she stared at them without comprehension, perplexed.

She found that in order to learn anything she had to take information from the last moment and apply it to the present moment. When her left hemisphere was completely nonfunctional early on, it was impossible for her to learn.

For example, she eventually became physically capable of putting on her socks and shoes, but she couldn’t understand why she had to put the socks on before the shoes. To her they were simply unrelated actions and she did not have the cognitive ability to figure out the appropriate sequencing of the events.

Over time she regained the ability to weave moments back together to create an expanse of time, and with this ability came the ability to learn methodically again. She adds that life in La-la land will always be just a thought away for her, but she’s grateful for the ability to think with linearity once again.

More of Jill Bolte Taylor’s Insights

Here are some more of Dr. Taylor’s insights:

  • I was shifted into the power and the beauty of what is, right here right now, that we’re often distracted from because the left hemisphere is so tuned in to so many details.
  • “I felt like a genie liberated from its bottle,” she wrote in her book. “The energy of my spirit seemed to flow like a great whale gliding through a sea of silent euphoria.”
  • “We are energy beings connected to one another through the consciousness of our right hemispheres as one human family. And right here, right now we are brothers and sisters, here to make the world a better place. And in this moment, we are whole, we are perfect, and we are beautiful.”
  • We have this tiny little group of cells in our left hemisphere that says “I am”, and as soon as it does that I become a separate individual, solid, separate from everyone else. (Source).
  • We’re not in a balanced brain society, we’re spending most of our time in our left hemisphere, which creates stress. (Source).
  • The knowledge that we are connected to everything else is always there, people are just not privy to it because the left brain is so dominant. (Source).
  • Dr. Taylor describes that she was floating from isolated moment to isolated moment because her left hemisphere-which is the one that makes connections between moments-was no longer working; therefore, A no longer had any relationship with B. The result was that she was totally focused in the present moment.

The 90 Second Rule

This is the 90 second rule from the book “My Stroke of Insight”: When a person has a reaction to something in their environment, there’s a 90 second chemical process that happens in the body; after that, any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop.

That is, something happens in the external world and chemicals are flushed through your body which puts it on full alert. For those chemicals to totally flush out of the body it takes less than 90 seconds.

This means that for 90 seconds you can watch the process happening, you can feel it happening, and then you can watch it go away. After that, if you continue to feel fear, anger, and so on, you need to look at the thoughts that you’re thinking that are re-stimulating the circuitry that is resulting in you having this physiological response over and over again.

How Can We Exercise Our Right Hemispheric Circuitry?

(Image from here.)
Dr. Taylor concluded her TED.com Talk by saying the following:
“Right here, right now I can step into the consciousness of my right hemisphere where we are, I am, the life force power of the universe. At one with all that is. Or I can choose to step into the consciousness of my left hemisphere, where I become a single individual, a solid, separate from the flow, separate from you . . . The more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner peace circuitry of our right hemispheres, the more peace we will project into the world, and the more peaceful our planet will be.”

Dr. Taylor made the decision to maintain the dominance of the right brain in areas it performs better than the left brain. She consciously avoids certain places in the mind where impatience, worry, criticism or unkindness live. Anytime her awareness drifts there, she consciously steps over to her now-familiar right side, where compassion and a subjective sense of time make things very different.

She explains that the blue sky is always there, and she sees the blue sky as the right hemisphere. The left hemisphere is the clouds, and the clouds represent brain chatter. The clouds come in and they block the view of the blue sky, even though the blue sky is always there.

The brain chatter comes on line and then it’s organizing and categorizing and dramatizing all of our lives in the external world. But when you quiet down those thoughts you get rid of the clouds; you unveil what’s always been there – which is the existence of the right hemisphere and that peacefulness and that awareness that everything is one and everything is connected. That is the experience of euphoria.

Dr. Taylor adds that she’s very clear that her brain chatter is a tiny group of cells that perform a specific function and that she has a say on whether or not that circuitry runs. All she has to do is make the decision that in this moment, she’s not going to have those thoughts; she’s not going to run that particular circuitry. She focuses her mind on the bigger picture and thinks about other things and blocks the clouds from being there. (Metaphor of the blue sky and the clouds taken from here).

In addition, she sets aside a day every week for her authentic self–a silent day of right-brain consciousness. She nourishes her right brain hemisphere with music, guitar-playing, and water-skiing. She also combines her science-training with her art by creating anatomically correct stained glass brains which she sells as fine art.

Conclusion

When Dr. Taylor was having her experience of Nirvana, was she delusional as a result of having a stroke, as some have argued? Or, as she maintains, was she touching real perceptions of an unexplored facet of reality, one that is wired into all of our brains, should we only learn to reach it?

I, for one, choose to believe that we can all reach this state of peacefulness by balancing our brain and becoming more in touch with our right brain hemisphere. How about you?

You can watch Dr. Taylor’s Ted.com Talk below:

Editor’s Note: I would like to thank Hilary Melton-Butcher who writes over at “Positive Letters” for directing me to Dr. Taylor’s Ted.com talk, I found it truly mesmerizing. (I found all of the information for this post on the internet, including articles published in major newspapers and interviews with Dr. Taylor conducted by Oprah and others.)


MARELISA

Feel free to reprint this article on your website as long as you include the following: This article is © 2009 Abundance Blog at Marelisa Online. The original article was authored by Marelisa Fábrega on August 19, 2009, and can be seen here.

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The Business Traveler's Guide to Unwavering Happiness

>> 19 August 2009


Today I am sharing an article from Christine Kane with you. I travel a lot and her tips speak to me.


Much of a business traveler's time is spent reacting.


"Annoying Thing A" happens. "Business Traveler B" decides what to do.


Some days are a constant impetus/response pattern. Some of us get good at it. Some of us pride ourselves on our inner peace in spite of Annoying Things A, B and C. But even if we learn how to react well, we're still reacting!


That's why your choice of how to use your non-reacting time is a key to unwavering happiness. You must practice proactivity when you can.


Being proactive (or CREATIVE) renews your relationship to your own power. It makes you happier. So, here are 10 Proactive (or CREATIVE) tips for the business traveler seeking unwavering happiness...


Tip #1 - Simple Self-Care


No, I won't tell you to go to a spa in your spare time.


However, I will tell you to sleep when you're tired. To pull off at the next exit when you have to pee instead of making yourself hold it. To allow extra time to get places.


Travel takes energy. And when people don't practice self-care in healthy ways, they reach for it in unhealthy ways. They eat hub-cap-sized plates of pasta and grease, claiming they "deserve it." They drink alcohol. They watch TV to numb out.


This isn't self-care. This is self-medicating. One is pro-active. The other is reactive.


Tip #2 - Discover Audiobooks


Many years ago, I decided to turn my vehicle into a "school." I started listening to books on business, coaching, and spirituality. Not only do I learn a lot, but it makes a huge difference in how I show up to my destination.


Tip #3 - Use Intention


Before any new segment of travel (getting on a plane, going to sleep) set an intention for your travel. You'll be surprised how your intention determines your outcomes.


Tip #4 - Make Mantra


Create a simple affirmation. Say it often. Say it when you're waiting in line. Say it when the plane gets delayed. Use it to center yourself. Challenge yourself to say it a thousand times in one day.


Tip #5 - Board the Plane Last


When the gate agent calls the Zones, let everyone else trip over each other so they can then stand in the hot jet way punching their cell phones.


Give peace a chance. Wait until the final boarding call. Plus, if there's an empty row, you can switch your seat because you know you're the last one on!


Tip #6 - Work out


Nothing maintains your mood like a great heart-thumpin' work-out! Wake up a little earlier, or find the hotel gym after you check into your room. This practice will make all the difference in how well you apply these other tips!


Tip #7 - Get Help


I used to lug around two guitars, a suitcase, and my computer bag. I'd pride myself on my strength and stamina.


Now, I pride myself on swiping my credit card through the cart vending machines next to baggage claim! I'm not into struggle anymore.


Get help, and tip people well. The extra $50 you might spend costs less than a visit to the chiropractor when you get home!


Tip #8 - Wash off your travel


If I have the opportunity, I always take a shower after I fly. I call it "washing off the travel." If nothing else, at least shower before you climb into bed. Try not to sleep with your travel still on you.


Tip #9 - Forgive unexpected expenses


You rush to the airport in your rental car after the conference. There's no time to fill the tank. You end up paying $45 for a teaspoon of gas at the Hertz desk. Argh!


Travel expenses like this can make you crazy. You can spend the day beating yourself up or criticizing the world for its unfair policies.


Don't waste your precious creative energy!


Travel is filled with lots of unexpected expenses. Your money will get spent because of A) stupid things you did, B) unforeseen situations, or C) the fine print. Do yourself a big favor. Breathe and let it go because A) you're traveling, B) you're wealthy, and C) you're worth it.


Tip #10 - Think Ritual


A business trip is not the time to start a new diet or yoga practice.


You can, however, keep small daily rituals. Write in your gratitude journal, even if you feel lonely or tired. Wake up 15 minutes early and remind yourself of your intentions for the day. Before you rush to your laptop and begin reacting, take time to create the day.



=========================
Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her 'LiveCreative' weekly ezine with more than 4,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at www.christinekane.com.


WANT TO SEE HUNDREDS MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS ONE?
See Christine's blog - Be Creative. Be Conscious. Be Courageous - at
ChristineKane.com/blog.

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4 life purposes that unite us all

>> 18 August 2009

(from Lyved):

1. Be as happy as possible.

2. Live life the way you desire.

3. Change the lives of others. (It often doesn’t take as much as you think)

4. Leave the world a little better than when we were born into it.

And yes to all the negative Nancys and Neds: not everyone will fulfill these purposes, but everyone can.

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The science of happiness

>> 13 August 2009



For more information, read this article.

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If you don't have a list of at least twenty things you like to do, then you don't have a menu for enjoying life - Marelisa Fabrega

>> 10 August 2009


Today I want to share a free ebook with you which was compiled by Marelisa at Abundance Blog.


Marelisa: "If you don't have a list of at least twenty things you like to do, then you don't have a menu for enjoying life. You need to create a list of things that are fun for you, and you have to make a commitment to do at least one of the things on your list every day."


One of Abraham-Hicks’s daily messages in 2007 was this: “A happy life is just a string of happy moments. But most people don’t allow the happy moment, because they’re so busy trying to get a happy life.”


Or read how Christine Kane defines it in her "5 simple ways to invite delight".


So, don't wait for inspiration, download the book now by clicking on the link below:

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You're basically killing each other to see who's got the better imaginary friend -- Richard Jeni

>> 31 July 2009

I am a fervent reader of Christine Kane's blog.

She started a reader's poll which I thought was really funny: your imaginary childhood friend.

It immediately sent me back to my childhood spent outdoors having all kinds of imaginary adventures and friends.

I had a whole life story plotted out. I not only had imaginary friends, but was an imaginary person myself with an imaginary life

I was Sam (Samantha) and had a twin sister called Amanda. We were from a family of 12 girls and our dad was the pirate Sandokan. Our mother was of course Lady Marianna.

I watched The tiger of Malaysia series all the time and must have had a crush on Kabir Bedi.



Since he could obviously not take care of 12 girls we were all sent to live somewhere else. I was sent to live in my family but would from time to time go back to Malaysia on holidays and have pirate-like adventures.

My plot was often spiced by my interest for books by Enid Blyton and Astrid Lindgren.

I was a strong independant child just like Pippi Longstocking and Ronja the Robber's daughter.

I had a whole plot where I pretended to be at boarding school just like in Malory Towers and St Clare's .

And I had my own detective club just like the Famous Five.

So who was your imaginary childhood friend?

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Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing -- Mother Teresa

>> 29 July 2009

Join the smovement. It's all about attitude & action.
Mattering to the world all with a smile.
SMILE AND MOVE

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Time is the one thing we cannot make more of.

>> 23 July 2009

Last year I posted Randy Pausch's last lecture which had blown me away.

This Carnegie Mellon speech of his was a response to that. Having only a few months left to live, he had to make sure that his time was spent in a effective way. So here he talks about Time Management.

Do you have a busy job? Children? Emails to read? Errands to run?
Do you have a messy desk full of paperwork? Do you have To do lists? Are the effective?
Do you have fun? Do you procrastinate?
Randy addresses all these issues in a very enthralling way.

Believe me, there is a lot in it, so take some time and enjoy.


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An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one -- Charles Horton Cooley

>> 21 July 2009

While I'm sitting in the sun on a camping in the Provence, I wanted to share with you a new painting I recently finished.

As you may be able to tell, I am fascinated by aboriginal dot paintings.

It takes forever to fill a large canvas with dot, believe me, but the result is stunning.


I am all in the BE-DO-HAVE model Christine Kane is suggesting in her course.
I AM an artist, creative, happy, positive, complaint-free person first. I behave like one. And the rest just follows. And it does.

The reason most resolutions don’t work is that they address only one level of your life. The DO level. It’s the DO-HAVE-BE model. “I will DO this thing.” (i.e., Lose weight) “So I can HAVE this other thing” (Self-Esteem) and I can BE this thing. (Confident.)

The average New Year’s Resolution doesn’t address the core of the issue – the “BE” level.

The best order for creating positive changes in your life is the BE-DO-HAVE model. This means you start from the BE level. When you begin changing on the BE level of your life, then the DO level and the HAVE level follow more easily.

When you start only on the DO level, then all the blocks on the BE level will often become the obstacles you can’t overcome.


Enjoy the sun, seize the day.

Mimi

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Life is the only real counselor; wisdom unfiltered through personal experience does not become a part of the moral tissue -- Edith Wharton

>> 15 July 2009

A moving tribute to the vision of wisdom from some of the greatest minds of the 21st century.

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Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one -- Hans Selye

>> 14 July 2009


There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference.
The little difference is attitude.
The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.

-- W. Clement Stone


Since I started the Uplevel Your Life program, I have noticed quite a few changes. Some small, some big.

The biggest change is that life has stopped happening to me and that I am now deliberately creating it myself.

One example happened to me yesterday.

I had prepared a pitch for our management on a project and needed input on a topic from a colleague. After I shortly outlined the project, he immediately began a negative rant. On how this was not feasible and why, that this would never be accepted, etc.

I was so overwhelmed by his negative wave that even now I am unable to list all the evidence he came up with. And his negativism was completely pulling me down with him.

I had no more arguments left.
I was literally speechless.
And completely flabbergasted.

I had no wish to counter his negativity.
I wanted to have a sane discussion, not a fight.
I have been on a high and in a positive mood lately.
I did not want to be pulled down to where he was coming from.

I didn't know what to do.

When his phone rang, I went over to the next office to a colleague of mine who has been working on this pitch with me and plain simply explained the situation above and asked him to help me. Which he gladly did.

And this colleague managed to pull the negative spiral up again into a business discussion about pro and cons. It was no longer a fight.

Afterward he told me 'That guy just needed to let off steam. And you always have to ask him what HE thinks about it.'

He was right. All that negativism was built up from the stress that this colleague is under, from the fact that he is always put in front of a fait accompli and probably feels his opinion is not valued.

We managed to come to a compromise we were all happy with and I thanked my 'rescuer'.

It made me realize a few things:
  • I am no longer willing to be pulled into negative situations
  • I am no longer afraid to ask for help
And these are two lessons I have learned recently which have upped my life quite a bit.

When I was sitting in a meeting today, another colleague with negativity written all over his face was making jokes about how he had to watch his mouth now that 'positive Mimi' was in the room.

It was kind of an indirect reproach... But I took it as a compliment because it means that my change is having an effect on others.

And that made me smile.

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How to Make Your Life a Drama-Free Zone - by Christine Kane

>> 10 July 2009


This week I am sharing with you an excellent post by Christine Kane.
You can also check out the website of the Dramastoppers.


One of the hardest things I ever had to admit was that I was a total drama queen. And one of the best things I ever did was to give up my crown and step down from that throne.

That's because drama - with all of its he-said-she-said, self-righteous anger, and done-me-wrong stories - is one big MAJOR distraction. It pulls our attention away from our dreams.

Many of us were taught that if we don't get hooked into drama, then we lack compassion. We're taught that emotion and drama are inseparable.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Emotion is the feeling, or energy, that moves through us. Drama is the thoughts and the hooks that create stories and reel other people into them. It steals our time.

Like the excess clutter that fills our closets and shelves, we can just simply let the drama go.

Becoming drama-free is more about creating space than anything else. Space for better thoughts. Space for clarity. Space for taking conscious action toward our dreams.

So, here's five ways to make your life a drama-free zone so that you, too, can have the perfect, abundant, spacious life you've always wanted.

1 - Bring awareness to your reactions.

Being a Drama-Queen requires one thing: Unconsciousness.

To shift your dramatic tendencies, start by becoming aware of your own reactions.

Though it can be tempting to point at all the drama-queens around you, start within you first. See clearly what hooks you, what compels you to gossip, what makes you judgmental of others.

Most of our unhappiness comes from one thing: our judgment.

So, where do you paint life situations with your self-righteousness or judgment? Where do you collapse because you judge yourself so harshly? Where do you want people to behave differently so that you can be happy or successful?

(And why not go ahead and just be happy and successful anyway?)

2 - Think R.O.I.

R.O.I. is "Return on Investment."

Every time you give your energy and your time to something, you are investing in it. You are, in essence, voting for it.

An entrepreneur thinks in terms of "returns" on investments. When you engage in gossip, whininess, self-righteousness, explaining yourself - you are literally getting no return on your investment. (Except fatigue!)

Your energy is your investment. So is your time. Ask yourself throughout the day, "What am I voting for here? What kind of return will I get on this activity?"

3 - Proactive communication

Melanie, a college professor, was expected to visit her family in Detroit every Christmas.

Melanie told me that she just wanted to take the holiday for self-care and reflection after a grueling semester. She didn't want to travel!

I encouraged proactive communication.

Rather than waiting for her usual sense of frustration to arrive in November, Melanie made calls in August to let her family know that she had other plans for the holidays.
She discovered that she was able to speak more clearly and compassionately because she chose to be proactive. She never once got dramatic!

Proactive communication means that you communicate when the emotional charge of the situation has passed, or has not yet arrived!

4 - Regular Exercise

There's a reason that everyone from doctors to trainers tell us to get our heart-rates up for at least 20-minutes a day. Exercise uplevels our mental health, our emotional health AND our physical health.

In other words, the more you increase your heart-rate, the more you decrease your drama!

5 - When Drama Strikes, Ask Three questions

Here are three powerful questions to ask yourself in the face of drama:


(1) What's my story here?

This is what you tell yourself in your head. "If I don't, then no one will." "I'm unworthy." "No one recognizes the good I do." "These people are idiots!" This is your "story." You probably know it well!


(2) Who would I be without this story?

Imagine that an angel surgeon comes into the room, and surgically removes that story from your head. You can't find it no matter how hard you try. Who would you be without that story? What does it feel like to move forward without it?

(3) How do I WANT to feel?

You always have a choice. But it's easier to MAKE the choice when you know your options!

So, when you remind yourself how you WANT to feel, you offer yourself a more empowered option than the drama. Even if you can't get there right away, make sure you know that this is where you can be if you choose it.

===================================================
Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her 'LiveCreative' weekly ezine with more than 4,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at http://www.christinekane.com/.


WANT TO SEE HUNDREDS MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS ONE?
See Christine's blog - Be Creative. Be Conscious. Be Courageous - at ChristineKane.com/blog.

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How a child deals with a heavy situation

>> 5 July 2009


My 7 year old niece and I were sitting in church for the very sad occasion of her cousin's funeral.

It was a  sad occasion and things were taking very long.

We were waiting for mass to start and she was obviously bored. One priest was already sitting up near the altar, waiting like us.

Out of the blue, she asks me:'Can the priest have a wife?'

This is catholic church and I explained to her that no, he cannot, that he has made his oath to God and that the catholic church does not allow him to marry.

Two minutes later, she asks me:'Can he have a girlfriend?'

By now I am smiling. I say no again and explain the same rules.

She seems satisfied with that answer. It takes her 5 minutes this time to speak again.

'Can he have a boyfriend then?' she asks.

I almost burst out laughing.
The sad occasion that triggers extreme emotions, often the opposite of the one's one is supposed to feel.
The boldness of this 7 year old girl and the kind of information she is already juggling in her head.

She seemed to feel with this poor priest and probably thought he was very lonely.

And that made me smile.

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I can't complain, but sometimes I still do. ~Joe Walsh

>> 30 June 2009


Have you ever noticed how much of your day you spend complaining?

  • About the weather (too hot, too cold, too wet, too windy).
  • About your boss (he doesn't 'get me', he gives me too much/not enough work, ...).
  • About a colleague (she is just lazy, he's all show and no work...).
  • About traffic (it will make me late again).
  • About your shitty life (if only I had a boyfriend/won the lottery/had a better job etc I'd be happy).

We whine, we complain, we gossip, we criticize.

And by doing so our attention gets stuck on the problem. We focus on the negative. And we look for like-minded people to support us in our blaming, to confirm our beliefs that life is a piece of crap and the boss is just a looser and if we had a better one we could unfold all of our wonderful potential.

Well, letting off steam may do you some good, but it also keeps you focused on the problem and thus prevents you from even considering finding a solution.

As Maya Angelou says, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”

According to A Complaint Free World, there are 5 basic reasons why people complain.

  1. Get attention:
    the primary need people have is to connect with others. A person may complain to a stranger about the weather or a local sports team as a means of starting a conversation (The traffic was horrible this morning --> talk to me)

  2. Remove Responsibility:
    People will complain to avoid trying to improve society and themselves. (Nothing will ever change --> I don't have to try because what I do won't make a difference)

  3. Inspire Envy:
    A complaint may be a cry of superiority. It implies that the complainer feels that they don't have whatever fault it is they are complaining about. (My boss is incompetent --> I am superior to him)

  4. Power:
    People often complain to incite other to abandon an alliance and switch to their point of view and/or build support and power by focusing on what's wrong with another's position. (Her idea is lame --> support my idea instead)

  5. Excuse poor performance:
    A person about to sing before a group may complain they have a scratchy throat to lower expectations should they not sing well. (This client is constantly delaying the production schedule --> and don't expect me to manage the situation any better)

“Complaining is like bad breath.
You tend to notice it when it comes out of someone else’s mouth,
but not when it comes out of your own.” – Will Bowen



As I told you in my recent post about 'energy flows where goes', I am following this course and when you notice where your attention is going you realize that a lot of it goes into complaining. So Christine Kane gets our attention focused on going complaint free.

And it is tough!!!!! I have managed hours, sometimes days going complaint free. And then, something happens, and boom: off I go. But the course, and her website, give irresistible reasons to go complaint free.

If you want to tell people at work that they should stop complaining before entering your office, you can also go to Jon Gordon's web and download no complaining posters.

So check them out and join me.

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