When you receive criticism take a moment to pause. Let this time be a kind of speed bump to slow down and “try on” what is being said.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Brett Jordan
No one likes to be criticized and judged. We like the way we are doing our lives and anyone who disapproves is clearly wrong!
Oops! What just happened? How can it be that we, too, may be just as critical of others, and they don’t care for it very much either?
What if instead of blocking this feedback and defending our positions, we simply paused to consider their perspective?
What would happen if we actually looked for the potential value in what was being said?
How might new ways of looking at ourselves create new opportunities for growth and self-improvement?
How would slowing down for the seemingly critical speed bumps offered by others make your travel through life smoother?
How might the ideas that are shared actually fit if you “try them on” for size?
If you still find them too tight, loose, itchy, or the wrong color, you can take them off.
It can be helpful examining the game tapes of your days to explore what worked and what didn’t.
Image from Unsplash by Jeremy Bezanger
Consider the following scenario:
It’s mid-November and the big Thanksgiving celebration is coming up for the family. A wave of anxiety and hesitation comes over you knowing that similar gatherings in the past did not go well. You replay these events with your selective memory and clearly know that others were wrong in the way they acted.
What if you actually had a recording of some of these gatherings and had a coach to point out your own missteps and shortcomings?
How could this help you set things right and do much better in the future?
What are some of your most helpful reflective practices to examine the game tapes of your days?
Who are the coaches in your life that can offer a far more objective perspective to improve your performance in the games ahead?
“Even in the longest life, real living is the least portion thereof.”
—Seneca, Roman stoic philosopher
Image from Unsplash by Jeremy Belanger
Social media posts are fascinating.
When we scroll and post we are constantly editing and discerning how we and others are living.
Like an editor of a film, newspaper article, or book, we take out all of the items of marginal interest and leave only what seems noteworthy and exceptional.
If a documentary film crew were to spend a typical day, week, or even a year following you and your family, how much real living would remain?
How much trivial and meaningless footage would be left on the cutting room floor?
What qualities of life represent real living to you?
How can and will you infuse more of these genuine and meaningful expressions of living into your days?
What shifts in perspective might have you reconsider what and how much of these experiences you share with others?
Where there is awareness there is growth.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by olieman.eth
Today’s quote got me thinking about the definition of insanity which suggests that it is fruitless to expect different results when we do the same thing over and over.
I prefer to embrace the idea of “When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge,” penned by Tuli Kupferberg.
Given the perspectives above, awareness seems to be a key to opening the doors to growth and new possibilities. Mindlessly trying the same keys that didn’t open the door initially seems to only keep us locked out of our fullest potential.
Where are you currently stalled or stopped in your efforts to grow?
How can you deepen or broaden your mindfulness efforts to unlock new doors and discover more of what’s inside?
Who can and will you ask for help you in your efforts?
“Worry compounds the futility of being trapped on a dead-end street. Thinking opens up new avenues.”
—Cullen Hightower, American quip writer
Image from Unsplash by Yellow I’m Nik
Over the past several weeks I’ve become increasingly aware and sensitive to the worries, complaints, and repeating gossip in the people around me. I am sure I must participate at some level, but I can’t stop wishing others would cease and desist with these ever-looping, dead-end conversations.
I wish I had a magic wand to shift other’s perspectives to open up new avenues to more empowering and productive paths in their discussions.
What are some of your best approaches when you and others in your communities are trapped on the dead-end streets of worry? What can you do to open yourself and others up to new avenues of thinking?
“There is a vastness that quiets the soul, but sometimes we are so squarely in the midst of life’s forces that we can’t see what we’re a part of.”
Image from Unsplash by Sebastian Pichler
Wendy and I purchased our 3½ year-old grandson a junior planetarium as one of his holiday gifts. Weston loves anything to do with the planets, rocket ships, and learning new things.
Those first few weeks when his toy was a novelty, he often urged me into his room — complete with room darkening curtains — to swap out the numerous discs with multiple images like the old viewfinders from childhood.
Beyond the many beautiful images of the other planets, nebulae, and star fields, we always paused a bit longer when we saw the photo of the earth to see the big picture of where we all live.
Where and when do you take the time to zoom out far enough from your daily activities to see what you are part of? Try this zoom out technique and see if and how this wider view quiets your soul.
“The eyes experience less stress when they can look upon a wider horizon.”
Image from Unsplash by v2osk
Try reading a book held 4-6 inches from your eyes. Slowly move the text away an inch or two every few seconds until you can make out the words with some difficulty. Hold your gaze there and read one complete page — or even a single paragraph — and notice the strain.
Now move your arms away to the proper focal length and reread the same passage.
Sometimes we find ourselves far too close to a situation, in which we may lack the objectivity and perspective to see the whole picture. Zooming out to provide a wider view may be all that is required to see things more clearly.
Take a look at The View from Above with astronaut Terry Virts.
Sometimes a little distance is all you need to see things in a brand-new way.
“If peace comes from seeing the whole, then misery stems from a loss of perspective.”
Image from Unsplash by Nadine Shaabana
How many of the following issues have you observed in the media and perhaps experienced in your own personal and professional communities over the past couple of years?
As you zoom out to what the media shows you and zoom in to the world you objectively experience, how do these two views compare and contrast? Given these often considerably different views, how much has the loss of perspective or disinformation added to your misery? How does seeing the whole offer you a greater sense of peace?
Where and in what ways can you gain greater peace from seeing the objective whole of things? How might greater perspective about your world and the world lessen the levels of misery you may be experiencing?
“To read a poem in January is as lovely as to go for a walk in June.”
—Jean-Paul Sartre, 20th-century French philosopher
Image from Unsplash by Chris Lawton
With Labor Day behind us and the cooler days with less sunshine ahead, it can be useful to look at our perspective on the seasons.
What comes to mind when you think of the winter months versus summer?
In the animal kingdom various creatures traverse the globe to different climates to pursue food and other necessary resources. Others find ways to hibernate and hunker down for up to six months to ride out the chill.
How do you intend to enter this time of year to support your continued pursuit of personal and professional excellence?
What inner work can you explore to grow more reflective and soulful in the coming months when heading out for a walk may not always be your first inclination?
What are some of the poetic pursuits you intend to include in the days ahead to keep them as lovely as ever?
“The stars we are given. The constellations we make.”
—Rebecca Solnit, American writer
Image from Unsplash by Robson Hatsukami Morgan
The night sky has been watched, enjoyed, studied and interpreted since the dawn of mankind. Today we look up into the sky less often — perhaps because there is less to see. The lights from our cities are easily seen from space, and our preoccupation with looking down at laptops and phones has stopped all but a small group of us from seeking and finding the constellations seen just generations ago.
Examine how and in what ways we may be limiting our own view and appreciation of the cosmos. How can we continue to seek, find, and even make our discoveries more meaningful for ourselves and for future generations?