With the glow of the Sochi Olympics fading, we recall the highlights, the winners, the exultant moments! There are too many to list, but I’m sure you have a few of your favourites in mind. I watched my share of it, which is saying a lot, since I don’t usually watch TV.
You know what struck me the most, as it does every time I watch the Olympics? The incredible composure some of those athletes have. Sure, they are in their prime physically, but I daresay, they are also masters of their mental state as well.
Speaking of masters of their mental state — and inspiring overachievers — I’m reading Col. Chris Hadfield’s book An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth. I haven’t finished it yet, so don’t tell me how it ends, okay? Here’s an interesting part about attitude.
In spaceflight, “attitude” refers to orientation: which direction your vehicle is pointing relative to the Sun, Earth and other spacecraft. If you lose control of your attitude, two things happen: the vehicle starts to tumble and spin, disorienting everyone on board, and it also strays from its course, which, if you’re short on time or fuel, could mean the difference between life and death…
In my experience, something similar is true on earth. Ultimately, I don’t determine whether I arrive at the desired professional destination. Too many variables are out of my control. There’s really just one thing I can control: my attitude during the journey, which is what keeps me feeling steady and stable, and what keeps me headed in the right direction. So I consciously monitor and correct, if necessary, because losing attitude would be far worse than not achieving my goal. – Col. Chris Hadfield
So, it follows that if I keep a watch on my attitude, I will not tumble out of control, feel disoriented, or stray from my course. I will be on track, feel like I am making progress, and have more overall contentment and lightheartedness. As Chris says, it is more important to maintain attitude than achieve a goal.
A lot of goal-setting, performance-oriented, time-management, efficiency-optimization shtick came out of the late 80’s and 1990’s. This was the heyday of books like How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. I’m not saying those aren’t good books, but I feel like the collective personal development mindset focused on achieving goals and nothing was said about attitude. And yet your attitude is the key! You can be happy even when you haven’t met all your goals, and you can look at life as an adventure rather than an obstacle course to conquer.
So let’s start a new wave where attitude is everything! I often lay in bed for a few minutes before getting up, just to check my attitude. I would rather go about my day cheerful and grateful, wouldn’t you? The world needs less grumpy people! As Chris Hadfield says, “losing attitude is far worse than not achieving my goal.” Would the world stop spinning if we all just tossed our goals out a window — or put them on the back burner — and started enjoying life? I think not. :)
Normally, I get along really well with those around me. Throughout my life, I have learned how to communicate with different kinds of people, although I have to admit, it comes pretty naturally. Even from a young age, my family would call me the peacemaker — because I was always liaising between my two sisters, because I could naturally see both sides and communicate to both. My dad once told me that he thought it was neat how I could talk to anyone about anything. :)
Lately, though, I’ve had occasion to not see eye-to-eye with one man who comes in to my workplace periodically. I’m not the only one to not get along with this fella — he has a chip on his shoulder, that’s for sure. I’ve caught myself thinking about the next time I have to interact with him. What will he say? What will I say?
Last time, I had to strongly defend a friend of mine whom he started to put down. That’s not something I have to do very often. It was a slightly heart-pounding experience; it was a conflict-creating move for someone whose nature is much more about conflict-avoidance. Although I learned to deal with conflict in my first marriage, it still makes my heart thump a little harder.
So what’s the deal with this guy? Why is he so obstinate? I was thinking that in our next conversation, perhaps I should try to be more understanding, try to see his side. And then I recalled something he said that really struck me. He said “people are always keeping information from me, so that I can’t do my job properly.” At the time, I proceeded to tell him more about how his job interfaces with mine, explaining things that might have been “kept from him.” Later I thought, buddy, it’s your responsibility to find out whatever you need to in order to do your job. In future conversations, perhaps I could try and explain that if he could do away with that victim-stance, and the chip on his shoulder, he’d do better. His air is so confrontational, perhaps he could try a co-operative mode instead.
But I don’t think he can do it. It’s too far from his modus-operandi. It’s too big a stretch. I don’t think he knows how to co-operate. I honestly don’t think he’s learned how to work co-operatively with others… which is too bad, because the pattern for his life isn’t likely to change otherwise.
Of course, I always like to turn the tables, look in the mirror and see how this applies to me. Is there something that I don’t know how to do, which affects the direction my life is taking? Is there something that I would benefit from learning?
Hmmm… does accounting count? That’s certainly not one of my strengths! But hot damn, I’ve been learning! :) How about you? If you could step outside yourself, what advice would you give yourself? What might another person — a wise, helpful person — suggest you try doing?
I also have to ask myself, am I part of the problem? Wouldn’t this man’s experience be different without me here? Kind of turns it upside down doesn’t it? He and I wouldn’t be having this conflict-filled experience if I weren’t here, or if I were different… So, I must have some conflict in me, which isn’t a bad thing or a mortal flaw. I simply must have been sending out some fightin’ vibes the day he talked bad about my friend. I haven’t had any run-ins since then, which I take as evidence that I’m feeling better about life now!
As usual, I just enjoy giving you some things to think about! :)
Hi everyone! You are my best supporters, my blog readers! So, I wanted to let you know that I am unveiling two presentations about my paddling experiences this summer. If you know of an event looking for a speaker, please have the organizer contact me using the comments form below. Comments are not published until I approve them, so I will not publish any requests. As for everyone else… What do you think of my idea? Would you like to hear about my trips? Would you find it interesting? Leave comments!
800 Kilometers on the River — Insights from my Summer of Wilderness Paddling
Join outdoor enthusiast and owner of Flow North Paddling Company, Teresa Griffith as she shares the challenges and triumphs of canoeing and kayaking over 800 km on the beautiful Peace River. In total, she paddled for nineteen days — ten days solo, nine days with a canoe partner — steeped in the beauty of the wilderness river. She overcame shoulder trouble, thunderstorms, shallow water, strong wind and waves throughout her journey. She spent seven continuous days alone on the water, with only herself and her kayak, and she wasn’t the same when she finished. She shares inspiration which came to her on that portion of the trip, when time stood still and every paddle stroke was a meditation.
800 Kilometers on the River — Lessons in Independence
Join outdoor enthusiast and owner of Flow North Paddling Company, Teresa Griffith as she shares the challenges and triumphs of canoeing and kayaking over 800 km on the beautiful Peace River. In total, she paddled for nineteen days — ten days solo, nine days with a canoe partner — steeped in the beauty of the wilderness river. She overcame shoulder trouble, thunderstorms, shallow water, strong wind and waves throughout her journey. She spent seven continuous days alone on the water, with only herself and her kayak, and she wasn’t the same when she finished.
A dynamic speaker, Teresa gives an outline of her past experiences which led her to make this journey. She reviews her trip preparation and practical aspects of the journey. She also shares inspiration and insight which came to her on the solo portion of the trip, when time stood still and every paddle stroke was a meditation. Sitting out a severe thunderstorm on the river’s muddy bank, nowhere to hide, wisdom and poetry surfaced from somewhere deep within. You’ll be encouraged, uplifted, and inspired to stretch yourself beyond what you thought possible.
My husband is a morning person. I am not. After careful observations of his strange habits and energy levels, I have made several conclusions.
He isn’t perky, alert and annoying first thing in the morning on purpose, it’s just the way he is. :) And, we make a great partnership because
1. We agree that 3 pm should be nap time, and
2. When going on road trips, he drives the first part and I take over later on (when I’m fully awake)!
So I’m trying to be kind to him in the evening when he’s sleepy, remembering how I feel when I’m a zombie in the morning. :P
Recently, I’ve realized and read some really big truths. Or rather, I’ve realized some really big lies that many of us believe without even realizing it.
1 - The lie: Outside things control us. The full quotation from The Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes says
We have thought that outside things controlled us, when all the time we have had that within which could have changed everything and given us freedom from bondage. – Holmes
Although we may think that our external environment controls what we do or how we live, it simply isn’t true. You never give up your control over your actions and thoughts. In tough times, you can choose to think positively. When someone is rude to you, you can choose to be polite. We have complete, utter sovereignty over our thoughts and therefore our lives.
2 – The lie: Things create more things. You might think, “no, people create things.” That’s not exactly true either. When it comes to creating anything in our lives, attitudes create things. And when I say “things,” I mean physical objects, circumstances, etc. You have probably experienced the frustration of trying to do something and just none of it will go right — your attitude, or thoughts, have made that thing hard to do, or they’ve made you want to do them when it isn’t the right time yet. If you get into an A-type personality mode, you can often push hard to do something that just isn’t needed/ready/the best thing to do. So your attitude creates a difficult time.
But getting back to the idea that attitudes create things, just realize that anything, good or bad, is in your life because you brought it there through a conscious or subconscious attitude and only you can remove it or change it. That is the foundation, but I don’t want to make it sound like it’s just “snap your fingers and voilà, it’s done.” It’s quite a bit of work to start being aware of what you’re thinking and how that’s affecting your life, and then learning to change it!
3 – The lie: Women need make-up. Why? To be attractive, of course. But make no mistake — you don’t attract people by how you look. Society feeds us the lie that women need make-up (and hair products, and skin lotions…) and popular media tries to tell us that our worth is tied to our looks, but that is so wrong! We attract people by who we are. We each have our own way of being, which includes our body language (like how we talk, move, look people in the eye, etc) and personality, but it also includes that “je ne sais quoi” — that special something, a person’s spirit. Sometimes, when you meet someone new, you can just tell you’re going to be friends with them. Or you might get a funny vibe not to trust them. In either case, it doesn’t have much to do with how they look, and we must stop believing the lie that we need to BUY THINGS to change the way we look to be more attractive. It’s just NOT TRUE! Authenticity should guide us instead. [Dove Evolution video]
4 – The lie: Men attract women by what they do. For the most part, men are told they have to do something cool, interesting, money-making, etc, to be successful and attract women. Or that they have to be clever/witty or romantic to say the right thing to get the girl.
Not true. You are not what you do. You attract by who you are. You don’t need a sexy job like race car driver to get the girls! Your attitude/spirit will attract them. Be the kind of person you want to attract — if you want a fun-loving, honest girl, be that. If you want a positive, easy-going partner, be that. Trust me, girls aren’t saying “I want a paramedic boyfriend” or “I want a guy who works at the Ford dealership!” It doesn’t matter what you do, it matters who you are. Think about who you would attract by who you are.
I think that the standard stereotypes are starting to be reversed, too. Men are now much more concerned about how they look, and products are now being pushed on them too (such as shave-gel, cologne, hair products). I’m guessing the products and marketing came first and then men started developing concern for their appearance. And women are now becoming more concerned with what they do, too.
I leave you with this last thought: You are not who you think you are… no one is. With no distractions, when you are truly alone with yourself, who are you? If you have no idea, but wish you did, go away by yourself with no distractions (TV, books, hobbies) and no mirror for 4+ days and I think you’ll find out! I certainly did when I went on my long kayak trip. It was wonderful!
The Spirit within me does not long for anything. It is free, safe, and satisfied. There is no sense of insecurity or of inferiority. I am not seeking to avoid anything. I am conscious of my ability to meet every situation. There is neither depression nor discouragement in my mental outlook on life. I do not look to anything outside myself to give me pleasure, comfort or certainty. I do not long for anything and I am not afraid of anything. My whole inner being is conscious of its unity with God, of its oneness with Spirit. There is no pleasure in intemperance, nor can it offer any suggestion of happiness to me…”
Wow. I wonder how I would treat people I encounter if I said that to myself every morning? Differently, I think. I had a challenging day today, and I wish I had read this in the morning… might have changed the outcome a little (although I was still quite positive and level-headed, despite some schtuff that happened. :) )
Remember I mentioned that this really spoke to me? Well, the paragraph is about intemperance, which I thought meant having a bad temper. But I wasn’t sure, so I thought I’d better look it up, just to be sure. I was wrong — intemperance is an expression for “immoderate indulgence of bodily appetites, specifically, drinking of alcoholic liquors.” Hmmm. A blurb about alcoholism spoke to me? I’m far from being an alcoholic (and not in denial, don’t worry), so what’s going on? Well, I might have other addictions, so… hmmm…
This is the second part of the paragraph — a-ha, it is all about habits!
I now see this habit for exactly what it is, an illusion, which seeks to force me to believe that there is some power outside myself which can give me either pleasure or pain. I do not anticipate such pleasure, nor is there any suggestive power in this habit which can cause me to believe that it has ever, under any circumstances whatsoever, given me pleasure. I am forever free from this thought, and from its effects. I do not will myself free from this habit, rather I perceive this habit is neither person, place nor thing. Having no law to operate, it cannot function. Having no intelligence of its own, it cannot suggest. Having no mind, it cannot will. I am now forever free from the mistaken belief that it was ever a thing of itself. I see it as forever separated from my real self, forever divorced from my imagination, thought and conviction. I am free now.”
That would be powerful against alcoholism! It will work on chocoholism, too, I think.
The paragraph above is actually a prayer treatment. A prayer treatment (or affirmative prayer) is something that you say, out loud, somewhat like a regular prayer, except it is more affirmative and “treats” you for a specific set of false-thinking you are stuck in. It’s a little like self-hypnosis, something you tell yourself so that you can change how you think, but affirmative prayer also lets God/Spirit help you in that area.
This prayer treatment comes from Ernest Holmes’ book The Science of Mind. Now maybe you think this is just too close to scientology or (what you feel are) other “quack” religions, not what you choose to believe. I hope you can see the wisdom in the words even if you don’t quite understand or agree with the source. For a little more info, click here. I will not try to convince or convert you, ever. Believe whatever you want to believe, but be aware that what you choose to believe and think shapes your reality! Aaah, this reminds me of my book! I am essentially finished writing it, although I need a cover design and some artwork done, then I really need to work on publishing it! Next year! :) Seriously, I’ll work on it in January when I have more time.
There’s no question that autumn is upon us. It’s been quite cool here – daily high temperatures are not always in the double digits anymore – and we’ve been having the low cloud and fog that is characteristic of this time of year. Meteorologically speaking, it’s caused by the cool air above relatively warm water, and as the water evaporates, it immediately condenses… but enough science-talk. It’s mesmerizing, and some days the fog makes me feel like I’m living in Ireland, ah, but without the ocean, the lovely people, and the greenery. All of our leaves have changed colour and thanks to some gusty winds this week, many trees are even bare. I have missed a few beautiful scenes for a lack of camera, but I’ve stored them in my memory. Maybe sometime I’ll paint them. I can show you some pics I took 2 years ago.
We had a thick frost the other day, and I felt like digging in my heels and yelling “I’m not ready for this!” But, after a couple of days of brisk temps, I feel better. It’s amazing what a person can get used to, and how a slight change in attitude changes everything.
I was resting a little while ago, just thinking about events of the last few days. I’ve been a bit of a sh*t-disturber, or at best, very assertive. I stood up and spoke quite strongly at a local community consultation meeting about a decision our town council made recently. I was working with a group of other concerned citizens on a proposal, which the town shot down. We were shocked and not impressed. So I expressed that the best way I could, although I was quite tired and could have possibly done better. But I stood up and said something, which I hear is worth a lot (compared to the common Canadian way of complaining about things without ever addressing the people who could change it directly). In any case, it was stressful, my heart was pounding, but I guess it went okay.
My husband stood up and said a few things, too, but his spirit was quite different from mine as he spoke. He was a peacemaker, sometimes standing up to shed light on a situation, reminding people they can get involved, or thanking the town council for having the meeting. I’d say on the whole, he was more present and less-egoic than I was! (I blame being up too long, coming off of midnight shifts with only a 3 hour nap). :) Ah, just making excuses… sometimes being more tired makes me more present or gentle, but not that day.
I used to be a peacemaker; as the middle child, it was one of the roles in my family! Have I changed? Am I fundamentally different? Perhaps not; we have some sh*t-disturbing tendencies in my family… in a good way! I think I may have become more of a do-er – I get frustrated with talk-talk-talk and politicking. Let’s just jump in and do something about it! But I was like that in university too, so I guess I haven’t changed too much. I can certainly talk with the best of them, but before long, I need action! In any case, I would like to reconnect with the peacemaker in me (I know she’s still there) and only tip the boat when necessary.
The other thing I was thinking about just now as I was reflecting was how I need to keep believing the best. I’ve been a little jaded about things lately, and I don’t want to be. I want to, despite a few facts that might contradict, believe the best about people and situations around me. After all, there are 2 sides to everything, and I can choose to look at one side more than the other, and I choose the good. If Darren is slow to do the dishes, I still need to believe he will do them, rather than think that he’s stalling, trying to get me to do them, etc. Believe the best, right? So, this will be my mode of operating for the next while – and I’ll keep reminding myself if I need to (which of course I will)!
Have a great day everybody!
What a surreal day I am having! Last night, I bought a newspaper. Turns out, Darren bought one, too, and when we were sitting around the table, I told him that, but then I couldn’t find where I’d put it. I was a little mildly annoyed (at myself, for having misplaced it). This morning, I was getting ready for work, and wondering where I had put my wallet — what is with me losing things?!? Well, I thought it was in my back pack, but I had taken it out to buy something… ah, yes, the newspaper, last night. Well, I will have to look for it later.
What do I find, sitting on the hood of my car this morning? My wallet, sitting on top of the newspaper, where I had put it down last night! Ack!
Everything was in the wallet, including the cash, and the paper looked completely undisturbed. How wild is that?!? Wow. When I got home last night, I had grabbed them off the front seat, but I needed to plug my car in, so I put them on the hood so my hands were free. Then I opened the back door, got my back pack and lunch bag and walked right by the wallet and newspaper on the car. And yet, my absent-mindedness had no repercussions whatsoever. Unless someone stole my VISA, bought stuff and then put it back… hang on while I check my account balances! :) I can’t help but think the universe is looking out for me!
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Man I hate working early! It sucks getting out of my nice, warm bed! I have to walk down the cold hallway to the bathroom and then after my shower, I get all cold again! The house is never warm enough, at least not in the basement. And I am up before the sun, for pete’s sake.
Wow, I have seen the sun rise every day for the last 3 days! It is so beautiful — I have missed it so many times when I just wanted to sleep in… how much of life have I missed because I wanted to just stay in bed?! (What can I say, I’m not naturally a morning person.) I am lucky to work a job with a great view, and on day shifts, I get to watch the sun rise every day!
I love my shower! It is so nice and warm, and the water feels so wonderful on my skin!
I hate getting called into work on my day off! I mean, I had plans for today! I had things I wanted to do! Now, I have drag myself out of bed to go to work. Ugh.
Okay, so I wasn’t planning on working, but it’s all going very well. Heck, I get to watch planes land all day! It’s not like I’m shoveling snow or working outside in the cold and wind. But I get a little fresh air from time to time, and that’s great too. I’m not tied to a desk, and have a lot of freedom in my job, which is perfect for me.
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There are always 2 sides to a situation and we can choose which side to see. We always have the chance to pick the positive or the negative thoughts about every situation we are in. We don’t just “find ourselves” in a situation, we are actively there. We don’t just randomly think thoughts, we either follow the pattern of thoughts we’ve been in for a while (a rut), or we actively choose what thoughts to think. Getting out of a rut is not as hard as you think… it just requires a change in direction.
Think outside the box today! See things from another perspective, and pick your thoughts with care!
It occurred to me the other day, I wonder what would happen if we extended the same kindness to computers that we do to people? Would it make a difference in how they operate? Now, you might be wondering whatever caused me to think that, but I’ve noticed that some people who have trouble with mechanical or electronic devices are rough or angry with them and always expect them to break down. These people sport a “what trouble are you going to give me today, you bucket-o-bolts?” attitude. And so what do they get? Trouble. Things malfunctioning, constantly. It looks like they are getting what they expect!
As for me, I talk to my car. (I know, I’m a little strange… but just pleasantly so!) I tell it that it’s a good little car, it works so well, and I coax it a little when it’s cold out and no one wants to go anywhere, including my reliable, 9-year-old car. Does that make it work any better? Well, let the evidence speak for itself: aside from replacing the brakes, which I gather is pretty normal for a car its age and with its mileage, I have had to do very little work on it. It’s a Japanese car, so it’s no lemon to start with, but I have to think that my sweet-talking is helping it work smoothly! I could try an experiment where I yell at and belittle my car, but I just don’t want to do that! I am afraid of what stretch of remote highway I might get abandoned on!
There’s another reason I don’t want to try that experiment. I believe that what you put “out there” is what you get back. It doesn’t matter whether it’s people or electronics we are talking about. It’s how you treat the universe, so to speak, that matters, and it responds accordingly. At times, it might even be easier to be understanding with a device than a person, depending on how much emotional baggage you have with that person. I am not saying that objects have feelings and actually care about how they are treated, but the general attitude that you approach life with will show in your surroundings. If you have a lot of trouble with electronics/computers, check your attitude and see what you are projecting. Some people have interpersonal troubles because of how they treat others… could you be having electronics troubles because of how you treat them? I don’t know, I’m just saying it’s a possibility!
Also, does it strike you as being two-faced to be sweet and kind to the dog, for example, but then yelling at the computer? It’s like being nice to your neighbour on one side and positively acidic to the one on the other! Not a very consistent way to live. Why not treat everything/everyone with basic respect and kindness (although you don’t have to be everyone’s best friend or necessarily love your computer).
Let me know what you think of this — am I totally out to lunch or do you get what I’m saying? Try an experiment with kindness versus anger towards objects and let me know how it goes (but make sure no one gets hurt in the process)!