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“To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping” -- Chinese proverb

>> 22 March 2010

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save.

~Mary Oliver


"Everything is alive; everything is interconnected." ~ Cicero

>> 17 March 2010

Lance from Jungle Of Life should be the ambassador of Bodacious-ville. He is bold and audacious and with his blog unites people from all over the world through his thoughts and projects.

This time he got me hooked as well to participate in the Car dancing project, a micro-movement organized by The Levity Project.

Do you ever dance in your car? Swing along with the music? And then you stop at a red light and suddenly stop moving because you become conscious of the people in the cars next to you?

Well, the car dancing movement was organized as a celebration. And even though it felt uncomfortable, silly and even stupid when I was recording it, after a few takes it was still silly but became less stupid and just simple fun.

For my boys this was just 'business as usual' as they don't really know yet what it feels like to be uncomfortable, fenced in by some society rules (who made those up anyway?).

When I showed them the final result with all the other people car dancing though, they thought that was pretty cool :-)

Watching the result below I feel honored and proud to have been a part of it. And you can see that all the participants had fun stepping out of their comfort zone.

So what did you recently do to step out of your comfort zone?
Why not visit The Levity Project and Jungle Of Life to find out what else they are cooking?

Enjoy the video :-)))


Life is like visiting a beautician...

>> 16 March 2010

To start with, you may have made the appointment yourself (your birth was planned) or you may have ended up there because someone gave you a gift voucher for your birthday (oops, how did I get here?).

So there you are and you have no clue what’s going on and everything looks unfamiliar.

You’re a bit scared when they put you under some bright lights and check every inch of your skin to see whether there is something wrong with you.

You are at the complete mercy of the beautician (your parents). They decide what’s best for you and apply the relevant treatment.

On your second visit (you have just turned 2), you are not so ignorant anymore let alone impressed by them. You know what you want and especially what you don’t want and you clearly state so. Sometimes they agree, sometimes they just use their persuasion and knowledge to impose things on you.

On your third visit (you are now a teenager), you didn’t really need or want to go but felt you kind of had to. You shift between enjoying the lathering and wanting to be somewhere else. They tell you you should eat less chocolate because it causes zits. You are upset and close the door promising to never, ever come back.

On your fourth visit (you are now in your twenties), you are happy to see them because you don’t get to go there that often anymore. You are so busy that you hardly have time. You don't worry about wrinkles yet. Plus, you don’t really need them anymore now that they have taught you all their beauty secrets.

On your fifth visit (you are now way past 30 and probably have some wrinkles caused by kids, dogs, happy and unhappy stories etc), you actually beg them for an appointment, just so that you can relax for a while and exchange tips and tricks. Oh and would they please give you some advice on your wrinkles...cause they are driving you nuts.

On your sixth visit (you are approaching 50) you are happy they are still open for business. You could go to someone else for the advice, but it would not be he same. They know you so well now. You have your appointments scheduled more regularly and well in advance. You are much more at ease with your body and can’t stop talking about how much you love your wrinkles. You have also become the beauty advisor of others and happily share stories.

On your seventh visit (you just passed 60), one of your beauticians isn’t there anymore and with the other you recall all the good times, talk about wrinkles and the wrinkles of the wrinkles..

On your eighth visit (you are about to celebrate the big 75), you are no longer have a beautician but only get the occasional pedicure. You are glad to see your wrinkles and want to look at them whenever you get a chance, because they are what life is all about, what YOU are all about.


“If you don't get what you want, it's a sign either that you did not seriously want it, or that you tried to bargain over the price” --Rudyard Kipling

>> 10 March 2010

Have you ever been put into an uncomfortable or embarrassing situation by someone?

My Dad, also mildly and lovingly referred to as Stingyman, has put us through many such moments when we were kids.

The good thing when you're a kid though is, that you think your parents are super heroes and thus any action is always awesome.

But as soon as you hit puberty (pre-puberty really) the heroic actions get a 'I'm forming my own opinion now and anything my parents do is just sooo uncool' tinge.

So when you have a dad who used to share hand-me-downs with his 13 siblings, you get a lot of money related speeches and 'when we were young' stories.

We didn't have a lot of money when we were little and every penny was always turned around at least ten times before it even exited the pocket.

Though we never lacked anything, we worked for our first stereo and Dad made sure we understood the value of money, or at least HIS value of money.

I am not sure whether it is a common trait in stingy people or whether it had to do with his upbringing, but my Dad likes to haggle.

Anywhere, with anyone, for anything...

When you're in let's say Marrocco visiting a local market, haggling seems to be the everyday currency there.

But when you're 13 and standing in C&A to buy a shirt and some socks, it's not a behaviour you would expect...

Admittedly there was a stain on the blouse. But even so...

Of course the lady behind the counter could not take such a decision and had to get the manager.
In the meantime, a queue is forming behind us.

The manager looks at the stain, my Dad explains, I am blushing.

He did get a rebate in the end and that is always his point: if you don't ask, you don't get.

Nowadays, I am often more amazed at his daring behaviour and what he achieves with it than I am annoyed or embarrassed.

I simply don't haggle. Maybe because of my Dad, maybe not. I just hate it.
Like clutter, it eats my energy. I don't see the point.

Don't get me wrong... I work in sales and I like a good negotiation, based on respect, trust and a win-win outcome.

But haggling for the sake of haggling...? Or to get a few $ off? Is that worth the energy?

Beats me...

For my Dad I think it's like a little competition. To show that he CAN get it and can get the BEST deal. It doesn't matter if he often ends up with things he doesn't really need or that were just simply crap...

Do you haggle? Have you been in such embarrassing or energy draining situations before?

This post was also featured at Expatica.lu


“Clutter causes stress, and clutter is one of the main barriers of productivity.” -- Charisse Ward

>> 8 March 2010

One of the first lessons in Christine Kane's Uplevel Your Life program is about decluttering.

Clutter can come in all forms and shapes and situations.

It can be the button of your white blouse that you haven't had the time to sew back on, or any object in your house that doesn't really have a place of it's own.

It can also be unfinished paperwork, clothes that are too small but just waiting for you to loose that belly, shoes you don't wear anymore 'but cost a fortune', gifts you received and hate but don't dare to get rid of just in case the giver swings by and demands to see it.

It can be the loose screw of the bathroom mirror that keeps you bending your head when you put on your makeup.

It can also be the demanding friend who eats up your energy ranting on about how difficult her life is but who doesn't notice when you feel down.

'Energy flows where attention goes' was the mantra that opened my eyes.

I come from a very modest family where dad was the breadwinner and mom stayed at home to raise the kids.

Things could have been really difficult and dull. But we were lucky that dad, who comes from a family of 14 kids, is very ingenious, inventive and, well, to say the least, stingy.

He used to have a room in the basement filled with, for lack of a descriptif word, stuff. Alls kinds of stuff. From 10 TV sets (in case the set of a member of the very large family broke down), over a used WWII2 motorcycle and washing machines (a woman's gotta wash...), to all kinds of screws and bolts to fix things.

My mother got fed up with it as it was also the laundry room and 'stuff' and clean laundry did not go well together.

So he built a workshop in the garden. Not just any workshop, but a huge, in your face building that could have looked neat, were it not for the recuperated slates, windows etc that just made us call it his shed (nowadays, the grandchildren refer to it as 'the atelier' - brainwashed they are :-).

He continues to horde everything he thinks he might need one day. Since flatscreens hit the market, he has gotten rid of his wide selection of tube televisions thus making room for...more stuff.

We have learned to live with this. It was actually quite practical when I was younger and living on my own. I never had to buy anything and Dad came to fix everything.

He continued to act that way when I moved in with my now husband and for a while I didn't get what seemed like a fight for territorial rights... :-)

Now we know that we cannot talk to my Dad about something until we have bought or arranged for it, or else he will swing by with his trailer to present us with the hardly used, 'as good as new' version of what we are looking for.

So I guess you could say that the word clutter did not exist in our family dictionary :-)

Which made it hard for me to get it added in my own. Especially the realisation that clutter is not just the mess on your desk but everything that eats up your energy.

I am a much happier and healthier person now. And I have learned to 'deal with my Dad' in the process. He can still drive me up the wall with his behaviour, but I just don't go along with it anymore.

What is your relationship to clutter? Has it changed in the last years? Why and how?


Sharing is rewarding

>> 4 March 2010

Bored with his ad agency gig and the uninspiring work he was producing, Ji Lee – now Creative Director of Google Creative Lab – decided to take matters into his own hands in 2002.

The result was the ad-spoofing Bubble Project, in which Lee placed blank speech bubbles on ads around New York City.

The masses responded and the project went viral, gaining Lee recognition and ultimately forwarding his professional career.

Here, Lee talks about how he created, financed, and marketed the project single-handedly.


Business Meeting Creativity Ideas - By Craig Cortello

>> 3 March 2010

Developing an innovative spirit in the workplace doesn't require extraordinary measures. As a manager, you can experiment with simple ideas that merely break routines, allowing your employees permission to drop the facade that we all don to some degree when we punch the clock. Here are a few ideas that will help you lighten things up for your staff and get their creative juices flowing, if you have the courage to take the leap.

1. Dart Board

Start every staff meeting by allowing everyone a shot at the dart board. Best shot gets to kick off the meeting, appoint the moderator, or tell what they did over the weekend. Starts things off on a playful note and gets your people out of their chairs. For safety purposes, stick with the magnetic or Velcro variety.

2. Colored Markers for the Flip Chart

Sounds simple, but we are programmed from an early age to correlate the amalgamation of colors with the awakening of our imaginations. If you need further evidence of this phenomenon, observe a classroom full of first graders the next time a teacher instructs them to put away their math books and take out their crayons. And experts agree that the key to creativity lies in the ability to awaken the child inside each of us.

3. Music Creativity

Ask each team member to write a 4-line verse to a song that relates to their job duties, hobbies, business ideas, etc. Go around the room and ask them to sing, rap, or simply recite (military cadence perhaps) their verse. Print the compilation in the next company newsletter to get a little PR for your department or office (others in the organization might want to transfer in when they realize that you’ve given your staff permission to have fun).

4. Music Creativity II

Ask your staff to bring in a CD with a song that describes their personality, work attitude, or how their weekend went. Play excerpts before the meeting for a laugh.

5. To Serve Mankind

Ask your staff to convey what they did over the weekend that was a service to another person, charitable organization, or noble cause. Vote to determine whose action was most heroic and award a gift certificate to the winner, let them leave work early on Friday, or take a longer than usual lunch break. This will encourage your staff to think of new ways to develop a sense of community. It will also help your people feel good about their co-workers, get to know them better, and give them a sense of pride in the organization.

6. Vocabulary Expansion

Ask your team to bring a rarely used or obscure word to the next meeting. Have them use it in a context that is applicable to your business.

7. Memory Exercise

Read a list of 10 or 15 things, preferably something related to your business, your industry, or to a customer and give an award to the person who can commit the most items to memory. This exercise can help your staff become more familiar with your organization and with your customers. Memory development is also a key to developing new customer relationships that will help your business prosper.

8. "If I Ran This Place..."

Ask your staff what they would consider the ideal job, the ideal workplace, and the ideal location. You can't transform your place into utopia, but you might gain some insight into feasible, marginal changes that will improve things. Now that you have them thinking without barriers, ask them what they would do first or different if they ran the company, office, or department. You'll be surprised by the answers.

9. Show and Tell

Have your staff bring something that they've created, that they are proud of, or from their childhood that the group would find interesting or funny. Demonstrate an interesting or unusual talent, perhaps. We loved this game when we were in kindergarten, and for some reason they made us stop playing as we got older.

10. Top 10 Lists

Until David Letterman decides to pursue intellectual property infringement, go ahead and try this one. Give a topic at your staff meeting, and ask for the answers the following week. Remember to keep it clean and non-offensive. Have your staff rank the answers and use a point system to determine the winner.

We would never ask our employees for quality without offering the resources, direction, systems, and commitment to develop procedures that ensure improvement in that area. Yet we ask employees for creativity or to "think outside the box" all of the time without giving another thought as to how to initiate the creative process. Take the first step and give your staff permission to shake things up a bit at your office. You're likely to see some changes - for the better!


Copyright 2005, La Dolce Vita Enterprises, LLC

Craig Cortello is the President and founder of La Dolce Vita Enterprises, a consulting and training firm that assists companies in creating productive and imaginative work environments that encourage innovative business solutions. He is also the National Sales Manager of Trinity Consultants, a nationwide environmental consulting firm and an accomplished musician. He credits much of his success in the business world to his creative spirit that was cultivated through exposure to music and the arts.

Craig is a proud resident and native of the New Orleans metropolitan area, and a Hurricane Katrina survivor!

He can be reached at ccortello@ldv-enterprises.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Craig_Cortello


“A good scapegoat is nearly as welcome as a solution to the problem”

>> 1 March 2010

Have you ever been in a difficult, conflictual situation that was neither of your making, nor your fault and where you were blamed, bitched at and ranted onto?

It doesn't matter whether the situation is professional or private, it does make you feel lit Shit.

When this happens we are usually part of the drama triangle.

The persecutor or bad guy is throwing all sorts of lies and accusations at us or they blame us for something.

This pushes us in the role of the victim and makes us feel guilty, angry and/or pathetic.

click here for the functioning of the Drama Triangle

When this happens we usually react with emotions, the likes of "This is not fair! How dare he! It's not my fault! Idiot! I will show him!"

It is usually best to let the dust settle for a while before reacting or responding.

It is also useful to understand why we are so upset. Is it just the unfair treatment? Or are there some deeper issues we are dealing with here - and ask ourselves whether these issues are really about the other person or rather ourselves.

Something like this happened to me last week and I asked myself why this was getting to me. And why this was able to bring tears to my eyes.
I had nothing to reproach myself. So why was this getting to me?

Because I was letting it.

As Eleanor Roosevelt wisely pointed out:
"No one can make you feel inferior without your permission."

It is important to realize that we ALL go through this. Even your boss, or your partner or the president of the US of A. We all feel inferior at some point, we all feel weak at certain times.

It didn't take me very long to crawl out of the victim hole and stand up straight.

Because that disrespectful treatment was just that: a treatment.
Like a drug when you're sick. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

And I decided that this treatment wasn't going to work on me. I decided that this was just showing how weak this person was, that he maybe had a bad day and needed to let off steam - and I happened to be in the way...

Whatever the reason...

...I let it go (with a little effort, with some talking to people, with a little help from friends, with some relativization). I decided to be my own rescuer in this triangle.

It made me feel better. And things were sorted out after the weekend. And that was that. No biggie.

So next time, you're in such a situation, look twice before you give someone permission to make you feel inferior.


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