Sunday, February 21, 2010

a new day...

When the gentle rhythm of my alarm brought me tumbling from my dreams this morning, I was ready to leap into the new day. 

Actually.... that is a lie. 

I rolled over and hit snooze...the repercussions of deciding to sit by the pool with hubby chatting the night away last night instead of going to bed like a good girl.

However, I only hit snooze once.  (Does that make it OK?)

I was tired but eager to get into this week.

This week is back to routine. Well... a different, new routine. But routine nonetheless and I do LOVE routine!

Don't get me wrong... I love holidays too. But really, the thing that is so great about holidays is that they are rare and so very precious. You have to make the very most of them because you are painfully aware that, in the blink of an eye, you will be back to having a daily agenda and pressure on your time. When it is holidays all the time, complacency can set in and you lose that important sense of purpose in your daily proceedings. Complacency is only good in small doses!

In this next phase of my life, I will be setting the foundations for a new season. In the past, to a great extent, the measure of my day has been completely consumed with my job. As a teacher, I believe that my job was also a calling and a ministry so I am not saying that the time was fruitless or wasted at all... just very full. Fellow educators will understand that, at the end of a long day wearing many, many hats (including the wide-brimmed hat required to protect you from the scorching UV rays whilst on yard duty at lunchtime), you feel just a little depleted. I know this sentiment is one shared by many a professional and is by no means limited just to those surrounded by children all day. However, regardless of the work, at the end of a long day, I would find it difficult to muster up the mental energy and brain space needed to completely focus on other things I would have liked to do.

By an amazing twist of God's grace and mercy, I find myself in a less-pressured position right now. Not having the consuming companion of a full-time job has me braced and ready to fulfill some other dreams; desires which have been gnawing at my heart for too long now.

I feel blessed beyond belief. I have big dreams and am partnering with the creator of all things! But I also feel a huge sense of responsibility... To whom much is given, much will be required. It is not all about never has been.  I need to make sure I do what I do with the right motives, the right attitudes and the right heart. 

Also published on my blog.

How to say NO, nicely!

As time passes I have found that I have become more self-centered. Not in a egocentric way, but in an assertive, grown up way. I know were my boundaries are and let others know where they are too.

I used to do things for people when I would have much rather not. I used to feel guilty if I had said no, giving a long list of reasons to justify my answer. I used to have this heavy dread in the pit of my stomach pulling at my conscience, and bringing up the childhood belief that, 'if you are good you must suffer'.

I am not totally 'cured' from the 'yes' illness, but I am finding it easier to say no and feel just a fleeting pang of guilt which I quickly dismiss and get on with my own life.

The trick to being a good no-sayer is kindness. Kindness to yourself and showing kindness towards the person imposing their wishes on you. If you kindly say, no, you leave little room for manipulation and guilt tripping from them. They can try but no, is short and sweet. If you want to be even sweeter say, 'sorry, no.' It doesn't matter what other words you dress it up with, as long as you don't add, 'I am busy, I won't be home, I've got an appointment, etc. Just say, 'no.'

Of course, there is room for negotiation, if you want(not if you are doing it out of guilt where you are defeating the point) but negotiate from what you can offer or are willing to offer.

Remember be kind to yourself and to the other person. If you say no, the other person may be upset, she may be annoyed with you, she may even hate you for being so selfish (their thoughts or your guilt?).

You can be kind to both yourself and the other person by negotiating on your terms if you want to help her out. If she disagrees, so be it, you offered what you are willing to do, you haven't said no, you have said no to her terms. She wants your help, so maybe she could practise being kind too!

I have found since being more of a no person I get more respect, on the surface at least. Who knows what is said behind my back. But what I have learnt is that people treat you how you allow them to treat you. If you want to be a doormat then you will have many willing people to fulfill your wish.

If you want to be respected, you have to show that you respect yourself. This does not guarantee that you will be liked, but hey! you can work on that too, by liking yourself a bit more.

Post also found in my blog

FML - "Say WHAT!?"

       “FML”. I had to Google it. Maybe I am old, but I truly hope it is because I have had no need for the acronym. To those who must join me in the uninitiated corner of the room, “FML” is the antithesis of “LOL”. To the further uninitiated in all things emoticons and web vernacular here is the breakdown: “LOL – Laugh Out Loud” and “FML – F*** My Life”. Umm...Wow!

        Recently I have seen the use of this little tidbit at the end of posts from “friends” on social media. As I said – I had to Google it to find out it’s meaning so if it were to come up in everyday conversation, I would not seem as old as my kids think I am. I mean, there are parts of me that want to be “in-the-know” if not “hip”. Honestly I was saddened upon finding its meaning. I was saddened that people needed a new way to exclaim and project negative energy upon their perceived personal circumstances.

        Nowadays social media has proven to be more fun than aggravation for me. Currently, more people post on Facebook than vote, talk to people they would not pick up the phone to speak to, and keep in touch with loved ones from afar, as well as share whether or not they enjoyed their Vanilla latte. Can’t be much harm in that, right? (Debatable, I know.) What disturbed me though is that upon my search, I found a social media site dedicated to the FML brigade. It allowed for people to post a “status” per se, of a negative personal situation, why you stand behind your assumed “FML” label, and then allowed people to agree with you as well as to select “You deserved it!” Another “Wow”! I will not post a link and become a conduit for traffic to this place. Google it.

        Now I have, as many do, moments where things just do not go my way. In the past I have felt that God and/or the universe has a sense of humor and I was the punch line. I also realize the more I feel “cosmic victim”, the more I can find circumstances to substantiate this feeling based upon my chosen perspective. The key word here is “chosen”. What we focus on is what we see!

        I realize too that in the FML mindset, if I feel that I find contempt with my life, and that forces beyond myself are damning me to live a less-than-desired existence, why would I feel it helpful to personally add to the damning? I have been there and I get the pain. However I now realize upon reflection, whenever the metaphoric FML subway would open its doors to let me off, by clinging to this viewpoint, I would simply stand on the crowded coach, allowing the door to shut once again, and continue the ride. I was both conductor and passenger.

        Personal and emotional pains are valid. There are times when we encounter barriers. I have straddled so many hurdles I have split my pants. What I have come to realize is that “pain” is the incident that injures us, however “suffering” often is where we keep reminding ourselves we should still be hurting. The exclamations mentioned above that support the mindset of “because of this incident, my life sucks” or “because of that incident, FML” is counterproductive to getting beyond it. I will not judge my life by any one incident than I would judge a song by a singular note.

        You will not see the acronym adorn my site, nor infiltrate my vocabulary regardless of how my day is going. What is simply is, yet I can manage how I look at things. By labeling not only an event, but that my entire existence is in jeopardy from it, lends me to remain deeper and longer in that which I find overwhelming. Winston Churchill once said, “If you find yourself going through hell, keep going!” Although I may add another keystroke, I offer this alternative: “TTSP – This Too Shall Pass”!

*Note - This post also found on Artisan of the Human Spirit