Archive for My Friendly World – Page 2

How Will You Spend Your Last 92 Days?

If you don’t know how you’ll spend your last 92 days, then you’d better think fast!

Why?

Because between today and January 1st, there are just 92 more days.

Quick question: When you first read the title of this post, did you think I meant your last 92 days, as in here on Earth? If so, good – that’s what I was hoping you’d think.

You see, I assert that your response to the latter can inform how you’ll ultimately respond to the former. Or, in other words, what you want your last 92 days in life to be like is something to think about when contemplating the 92 days left before we ring in another 365.

On many of the websites I visit, the experts are touting how important it is for us to consider carefully how we will spend this last quarter of the year. How will we get the most out our businesses?” they ask. “How much money can we make?” That’s all well and good. I may even think about the answers to those questions.

But what I want to suggest to you (and to me, too) is that we also think about what’s vitally important to us before choosing how we spend the gift of the upcoming days, and the all the ones that follow.

As the prolific writer Annie Dillard so wisely tells us, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

… which leads me to another quote for us to remember, from the also prolific writer, the late Stephen Covey, who said, “Begin with the end in mind.”

So yes, let’s ponder how to make the most out of our next 92 days. And as we do, let’s not forget to take Ms. Dillard’s and Mr. Covey’s wisdom into account. How do we really want to live, after all?

Do we want to die before we die, or do we want to live while we’re still alive?

After that sobering thought, how about a little levity? Check out how this guy (and his dog) choose to spend some of their time by clicking here.

Profile Picture + One

By Guest Blogger, Betsey Brogan.

“The younger generation” has grumbled about how the average age on Facebook is old enough to be grandparents. No, it didn’t start out that way. But, as time goes on, more of us who have seen lots of birthdays have found joy in reconnecting with long time friends through Facebook.

Unlike many things in our hectic lives, it’s easy to log on and learn about friends, see and share pictures, and jot a note – all in the time it takes to eat breakfast. We’re able to write to people, who. because of distance and time, had fallen off our to-do lists; people with whom re-connecting does the heart some good.

Then I post a picture of myself and my same sex partner. Yikes! Talk about stepping out onto a whole new platform of risky.

The way I look at it, though, is that some, those who don’t know about my 10 year relationship, may be surprised. But if we are to be authentic in our “sharing,” I want them to know about my house and home, which includes this fantastic woman who wants to be with me in the good and bad for the rest of my life.

Others may see my profile pic and say to themselves:,“I guess I don’t want to ‘friend’ her after all.” And to them I say, “It’s my life, and it’s up to me whether I want to live it authentically or live in such a way that is easier for others to take.

When I first came out to my Dad many, many years ago, his first response was, “Your mother and I will always love you, just don’t tell anyone OK?” Bless his heart. Over time, he came to realize that being gay wasn’t fatal and what truly matters is how a person loves, lives and contributes to her community.

Posting a picture of my partner and me may be risky. I’ll never know what those who regretted “friending” me thought when they saw it. I do know that it has welcomed some of my friends from the past to seek me out as counsel, in regards to how to interact with their gay children. That is really an honor.

Something about living out loud, and risking being authentic, has signaled to my dear friends, that I am a safe place for tough questions they are asking themselves. What an honor, really. And how reaffirming that I can live a life I am proud of.

So, Dad, if you are listening, “I don’t go out of my way to tell anyone I am gay, just as you don’t tell anyone that you are an American. It’s just who I am.”

Live your life to the fullest, live with integrity, and don’t be surprised if someday someone asks you questions from their heart. What a gift those ‘heart to heart’ talks are. What a precious gift.

This post originally appeared as a part of True Voices’ RiskADay project, which has now concluded.

 is on her way to creating World Peace – one massage at a time. On-site Chair Massage and In-Home table massage. Bringing Stress Relief to You.

Red Light, Green Light – Time for a Change?

By Guest Blogger, Betsey Brogan.

Why is it so difficult for me to give myself a break?

I hope it’s not going to take my whole life until I learn the importance of rest. How ironic! But sometimes it certainly feels that way.

If I go on vacation, change my location, turn off all connections to the world, then I can take a break. But what if I need to do this right here at home? There always seems to be something that has to be done, someone I need to call, something that must be crossed off the list.

One lesson I learned while I attended massage school was that pain is the body’s way of communicating to us that something is out of balance. For example, carpal tunnel syndrome may be the body’s way of telling you that you are working too many hours, or that you may to rethink your ergonomics at your workplace. The pain in your wrist may be your body’s way of telling you that something needs to change.

From Wikipedia, we learn that homeostasis (from Greek: homoios, “similar”; and histēmi, “standing still”;) is the property of a system that regulates its internal environment and tends to maintain a stable, constant condition. When our bodies are out of homeostasis, they start to communicate to us this need for change.

When systems are out of balance, things begin to break down.

We all know the importance of eating right, getting plenty of rest and exercise. But when we slack on any of these self-maintenance habits, our bodies don’t work at their best. And we get uncomfortable, cranky, and/or sick.

It really is true that the world will go on without us. Things that need to get done will get done. Therefore, it’s essential that we learn to listen to our bodies when they tell us to stop.

It quite literally is a life lesson.

I don’t know about you, but the next time my body tells me to slow down, I am going to listen.

What a lifesaver!

Note: This post originally appeared on True Voices’ RiskADay blog project, which has now concluded.

 is on her way to creating World Peace – one massage at a time. On-site Chair Massage and In-Home table massage. Bringing Stress Relief to You.

How Now, Brown Cow?

Howdy!

Yesterday, I published a post entitled “Are You Playing the Tapes All the Way Through?” In it, I shared about an inner conflict I’d had and how I became clear about the way I could best to handle it. I also promised to give you seven additional strategies for getting clear about your best course of action when faced with multiple, conflicting choices. But I’m not going to do that…

I’m going to give you eight – nine in all! 🙂

Before I get to the list, though, I’m going to go ahead and give you your homework. Just as I suggested yesterday, please begin using these strategies right away. They’ll be useful for you all along your journey, but only if you remember them and how to put them into in play. Plus, using them will enable you to figure out which ones best fit your style. All of them won’t.

Now, here we go:

  1. Ask yourself which choice is more aligned with your long-term goals, and which is choice is more about getting what you want right now, or in the short-term,
  2. Check in with your Higher Power, whether you call that your Higher Self, the Divine within you, God, Goddess, the Universe, the Great Spirit, or some other entity or term more preferable to you. Listen closely, and then be willing to act on what you hear,
  3. Honestly contemplate how you’d expect to feel after having acted on each of the different choices, then be willing to give yourself the gift of acting on the one that genuinely feels the best (In case you missed it, this is the condensed version of yesterday’s “playing the tapes all the way through,”
  4. Imagine you are watching a movie in which you are the beloved heroine or hero, facing the same situation as you’re facing in real life. Ask yourself what decision you’d want your character to take, which course of action you think would do her or him the most good,
  5. Listen to the suggestions of your friends, certainly. Remember, though, that they are only suggestions, based on their own experiences and perspectives of how the world works. You get the final say,
  6. Ponder which choice will further you along the path of becoming who you want to be and creating the life you desire, and which choice(s) would take you in another direction entirely,
  7. Present the conflict to your inner board of advisors or your your inner wise counsel. This entity is made up of people you admire, dead or alive, real or fictional, such as Eleanor Roosevelt or your late grandfather, or like your mentor coach or Atticus Finch. They don’t even have to be people. Sometimes I think about what my dog Little Bit would do, or I check in with the deer or a favorite tree. Think about what you know or at least what you imagine to be true about these beings. Then, make up what you think they’d do in this situation, and thus would advise you to do, too,
  8. Reflect on why you want to do each of the choices, letting the different voices in your head have their say. (No, this doesn’t make you crazy – we all have voices in our heads!) Then, having heard from each member of your *Inside Team, take charge and make an executive decision, laying down the law about the the next step you’ve decided to take,
    Then last, and perhaps my favorite,
  9. Take the time to ponder which choice is the more loving one, and which is more of an indulgence. (Ouch. This one gets me every time.)

Gosh, who knew there were so many different ways to consider the most suitable choice when faced with a difficult (or even seemingly simple) decision? But that’s good. We want to be equipped with a variety of ways to handle inner conflict, because they do and will continue to happen.

Even though I was able to list nine strategies here, I’m certain there are more.

How do you choose what’s next for you when faced with two or more ways you could go? What do you use as the scale with which to weigh your options? I do hope you’ll comment below with your favorite techniques. I’d love to keep adding to my list, both for myself, my clients, and any others who might stop by True Voices’ Be You Out Loud blog for a little love and inspirationg.

One last thing: It may be scary to slow down, in order to make the right decision for you in the moment, but you’re worth it. Don’t think so? Trust me. I know.

OK, my lovely. Get ready, get set, get clear!

*Important note: The Inside Team is a fun and powerful coaching methodology, and the brain child of Master Certified Coach, Cynthia Loy Darst of the Coaches Training Institute, the Center for Right Relationship (CRR Global), and her own company she shares with her husband, Inspiration Point.

If you are an advanced coach, and you’re reading this post on the 17th of September, please know that there is an Inside Team Coach Training Course that starts today! It’s not too late to sign up. Just go to the Inside Team Coach Training Course page on Center for Right Relationship’s website by clicking here and check it out. I’d be willing to bet that if you see this within the week after the start date, and want to join the tele-training then, they would let you in then, too! And, even though I don’t get any money for signing you up for the course, I am one of the Inside Team Mentor Coaches. I would love to have you join me there!

And last but certainly not least…

Cynthia Loy Darst is wise beyond her years, and someone I’m grateful to be able to call my teacher, mentor, and friend. Check out her delightfully insightful and deeply moving TEDx talk here.

Are You Playing the Tapes All the Way Through?

Last night, as crazy as it sounds, I set my alarm for 4:00 am, and actually I got up when it went off. You may remember, in a previous post, I wrote about how, even though I hate getting up early in the morning, I love being up while most of the rest of this part of the world is sleeping.

But today was different.

You see, once I got up, had my steaming hazelnut coffee in hand, and sat down in the (not at all sunny) sun room, suddenly all I could think of was going back to the comfort of my bed instead. I felt as though it was calling to me in that ghostly-yet-angelic-singing kind of way, “Laaaaaura… Laaaaaaaaaura…”

I was conflicted.

On one hand, I could imagine how nice the bed would feel: the sheets so cool, the mattress so welcoming, the blanket so soft. And, of course, there was the additional three and a half hours of sleep to consider…

The name-calling got louder.

Then, instead of marching right back up those stairs, as though to the tune of a pied piper, I paused. Aware that I had at least two choices here, I leaned in for a moment to the idea of writing and meditating in my favorite chair, Dogberry loyally lying by my side, and the pitch black of not-yet-morning surrounding us, just past the many windows on three sides of the room.

First, I imagined how good it would feel to do what I had set out to do, and the reward I’d get from honoring the promise I’d made to myself. I also thought about why I wanted to be up in the first place: to honor my desire for quiet time (while awake) and to connect with myself in a way that I so seldom do in the light of day.

Ahhh.

Then, I thought of how I’d feel when I got up from having gone back to bed, and having not followed through on my promise to myself.

Ick.

You see, after I had thought through the choices to their likely conclusions, I knew what to do. I knew what I wanted for myself. I knew how I wanted to look back on this seemingly small yet pivotal moment. I also knew how I didn’t want to look back on it – as yet another time when I said I wanted to do something, made a promise to myself to do it, and then let myself down by not doing it after all.

So, how did I come to this decision, especially with the bed was calling to me like a beautiful Siren, singing her mesmerizing songs and luring me toward the rocks?

I “played the tapes all the way through.”

(I know, we rarely listen to tapes anymore, but bear with me. Instead of the looking at the literal meaning of the practically obsolete words, let’s explore their metaphorical meaning.)

I see the concept of “playing the tapes all the way through” as similar to how I might view an invitation from a friend, or narrow down what activities I might take on over the weekend, or on any particular work day. It’s an opportunity to fully consider my options, and to make the best decision for myself at that time.

How exactly do we do this?

There are just three steps:

1. We accept the opportunity presented to us as an invitation to create our lives more consciously rather than doing so by default.
2. We take a breath or two, and ponder the action or actions we’re contemplating taking.
3. We consider – and this is key – the likely eventual outcomes for the choices before us, and how we expect we might feel about those choices once we’ve acted on them.

It’s that simple!

Sure, in some instances, we can’t possibly know what the outcome of each choice might be. Most of the time, however, when we’re honest with ourselves, we can make a pretty darned good guess. And that was the case for me with this morning.

After I “played the tapes all the way through,” it was clear what the better choice was. As I said, I chose to stay up. It’s not that going back to bed was a bad choice. There were certainly benefits to follow the call of the bed. But staying up was right for me in that particular set of circumstances. How can I be so sure?

Our Values are Our True Divining Rods™

Our Values are Our True Divining Rods™

I was honoring my values.

By staying up and writing, dreaming, thinking, and feeling, I was aligned with my values of authenticity, connection, contribution, courage, creativity, integrity, and spirituality. Frankly, it’s not very often that all of my top values meet in one decision, but here they did,  hence the relative ease of this decision. More often, my values are separate from each other, and in an order of priority. It’s my job, then, to figure out what that order is. And sometimes, they are in direct conflict with each other. “Playing the tapes all the way through” is an excellent tool for me to use in that particular situation, too.

Can you see how remembering to “play the tapes all the way through” can be helpful to you, too? I hope so. And my assignment to you is to use this tool right away, no matter how large or small the decision. This way, it can become a habit, and eventually, even be second nature to you. And won’t that be nice?

But what if I don’t know what my values are?

Don’t worry! I’ll be writing soon about what values are (and aren’t) and even more about how we can use them in our lives. For now, though, know that I’ll be back tomorrow with seven more strategies for arriving at the best choice for ourselves in situations of internal conflict.

Until then, don’t forget to imagine that we still use tapes, and then “play them all the way through!”

A Post Script of Two More Things to Remember:

1. This is just one example of how our world, our circumstances, our thoughts, and feelings offer us friendly invitations. They invite us to  to dip below the surface of the actions we take without thinking. And thus, by taking this deep dive, we can live fuller, more meaningful lives.

In the example above, I had a choice to make. It wasn’t a life or death situation, but I answered the invitation to go deeper. As a result of that process, and of doing what was revealed to me as the right course of action, I know myself better. In addition, I felt rewarded by my decision to listen to myself and for my motives, and raised my levels of self-trust and self-esteem.

2. And finally, know that these invitations do not demand our attention, nor are we expected to answer them. There’s no need to put that kind of pressure on ourselves. They’re there for us, however, should we choose to remember the age-old adage of  “watch, look, and listen,” and then step out into the world more confident, knowing that we are aligned with authentic selves.

I look forward to hearing what you think, and to seeing you tomorrow!

Celebrating a Birthday

By Betsey Brogan, Guest Blogger.

There is a temptation as you accumulate them, to let birthdays slide by quietly. Maybe if I keep my head down and remain absolutely still, this day will pass without any effect on me at all. Yeah, right. Like that could happen. The birthday comes and with it those little voices in your head: “Another one?” “You are looking a little older.” “You probably can’t run like you did when you were younger.” (You know, the voices that remind you of limitations)

So, I have taken inspiration from others and I am claiming my birthday. Yes! Let’s celebrate! Let’s have a party! Let’s get together and eat something really yummy and share some laughter and good times!

Life is a gift. I am gonna celebrate it for all it’s worth. I am gonna celebrate it when I get a good test result. I am gonna celebrate it when I climb Stone Mountain. I am gonna celebrate it when I look into the eyes of my nephews and tell them an amazing story about the loved ones who came before them and illuminated this world with grit and moxie.

I have been given one life. I aim to misbehave. I aim to revel in the lives of people I find fascinating. I challenge myself to speak my mind. And speaking of my mind, I am gonna stretch my mind to the great expanse of discovery. I am gonna glory in the beauty of creation. I strive to experience all that life has to offer. I am eager to run into the swell of greatness. I intend to love with my whole heart.

Life is giving me a birthday. Let’s Celebrate!

This post originally appeared on my RiskADay blog project, which has now concluded. 

Betsey Brogan is on her way to creating World Peace – one massage at a time. On-site Chair Massage and In-Home table massage. Bringing Stress Relief to You.

And by the way, today, September 13th, is actually her birthday!

Bright Lights and Barred Owls, an Elegy

Today, on September 11th of all days, I present a poem for you. It is in loving memory of my client turned friend, Tayyibah Taylor. She was a brave and beloved ambassador of – and dedicated activist for – world peace.

“A Bright Light, A Barred Owl: An Elegy”

Our bright light has moved on.Tayyibah Taylor in hot pink
And we have moved
From Shock and Disbelief
To broken-heartedness
For ourselves, for all – and at the
Loss of her song, and her being
That mellifluously brought a potent, loving message.

Our bright light has moved on.
Clothed in vibrant wisdom, and with
Exquisite engagement,
Her worldwide heart and
Her other worldly delight,
No longer embrace us –
Not in this realm.

Tayyibah Taylor w/sparkler

Sparkling Tayyibah and her Sparkler

Our bright light has moved on.
We know not to where –
Perhaps Allah as she believed.
We do know
As she lost her battle,
We lost a champion and one
Of the highest magnitude.

Our bright light has moved on.
And she visited me, on the way to her
Soul’s next evolution, by embodying a barred owl.
Cloaked in the song of “Who cooks for you?” she spoke
As in unison with Quan Yin. “I hear your cry.
Compassion and Mercy to all,
Including you.”

Our bright light has moved on
Though her message lingers – an invitation
To be a woman with wings, migrating as necessary,
Leading us all heartlong with her love lantern
So that we see the divine, invisible and
See beyond the human, visible
In the faces of our families and our enemies.

Tayyibah Taylor

Tayyibah Taylor, in the Colors of our Planet

Our bright light has moved on.
She now beckons us to pick up our purposes,
Travel across borders created by mankind,
And through veils created by a power
Greater than we, and surrender,
Finally, to building and then crossing countless
Bridges to peace.

II.
For your life, Sister Tayyibah Taylor, bright and
Guiding light, we give thanks.
And for the gifts you brought us,
The gift that you were,
We will know you, in the call of the barred owl,
The eyes of the gentle doe, and the magnificence of the flamingo,
If we will but listen, if we will but see.

III.
Our bright light has moved on
And so must we –
Not soon, but eventually –
When we are ready.
We must get ready.
But first, we must grieve.
Our bright light has moved on.

Laura Overstreet Biering, Clarkston, GA
©2014 All rights reserved

PS To learn more about Tayyibah and her legacy, click on her name in the opening paragraph, and/or visit these links:

PPS To learn more about the Barred Owl and the “medicine” it is believed to bring, visit one of these links:

PPPS  And finally, just to be clear… As you know, the majority of photographs on this blog are ones I’ve taken. The ones included in this post, however, are not. If and when I find out whose they are, I will certainly post that here.

Jigsaw, a poem and one perspective…

Jigsaw, a poem and one perspective on my Global Puzzle Theory

I have believed
For a very long time
That I am one piece
Of a very large puzzle

Uniquely made
For my particular spot
In this world
My only real job

To fill it
Today
Surrounded by the lushness
Of deep greens and spring greens

The wonder of wildlife
And a gracious gift
I struggle to steward
And deserve

I see myself analogous
To the world
My insides made up
Of many individual contributors

I am a jigsaw puzzle
Of the most difficult degree
Many shades and shadows
Few delineating lines

I see the picture on the cover of the box
But can’t bring it into focus
What is it
What am I

Supposed to be
When all put together
Before I am undone
Apart again

Put away
Again
Perhaps
For the last time

Where are my edges
Do I have all the pieces
Or have some fallen
On the busily-patterned rug

That is a metaphor
For my mind
Or has a trick
Been played

By somehow
Adding extra pieces
Superfluous pieces
That must be discovered

Then disregarded
For me to see
Only the essential
Thousands of pieces of

Me

Outside as the greens
Are courted by the breeze
There is a wonder
And an uncertainty

Fitting a world dynamic and alive
Even on the darkest of nights
Regardless of how long or short
The lives here live

Inside where the air is conditioned
The art is hung just so
The silver shines
And the crystal is clear and

Intertwined with the centuries of life
Gone before me here
And the dust and
Dog hair of the day

It’s too dark now (or is it)
To put together this puzzle
I feel my way is futile
Will never get me there

Wherever there is
What’s next
Now
I know

Not

 

© 2014 Laura Overstreet Biering, Brinson’s Race

Throw Forward Thursday

It’s Throw Back Thursday on Facebook.  I feel sure you’ve enjoyed, as have I, seeing the pictures of your friends as adorable newborns, as toddlers trying to walk, teenagers striving to find themselves, couples getting married, and more.

Today, however, I want to offer you something different: Throw Forward Thursday.

You see, I’ve just watched an incredible video, one that I hope you’ll stop right now and watch along with me, as I watch again and again. It’s aimed at women, but I do believe the brave men who watch it will be just as inspired by it as I’ve been.

Please – whoever you are, no matter your gender, your age, or any other circumstance or situation you find yourself in –  please, give yourself the gift of the 4 minutes and 15 seconds it takes to watch this short, powerful film.

I wholeheartedly invite you do so, and then comment with your feedback. I’d love to hear how it affected you – what you thought, what you felt, what you are re-inspired to do, or what you are now inspired to do and/or be for the very first time. In other words, as a result of watching this motivating movie, how will you now Be You Out Loud as never before?

Here’s the video: Your Calling?

PS A favor: If you are willing, I ask you to please share this – specifically the post, and in general, my website and blog, too. You may not get a prize, but you will get my deep appreciation.

PPS Some shameless self-promotion: If you know others who could benefit from a conversation with me, about their callings or  anything else on their minds and hearts, please ask them to email me for an appointment.them to me. It would be my pleasure to offer this to them, as my gift. Why? Because it would mean I’d get t0 be myself out loud, while helping them get clear on how to do that for themselves! And if this person is you, and you’re not a current client, you’re just as welcome to contact me for a chat! Come on in, the water’s fine!

Hoping for Risk

By Carolyn Cook, Guest Blogger.

Why does every call for help feel so risky?  I am working up the courage to reach out to my mom’s friends, old and new, for help with her social life.  What am I afraid of?

I’m afraid they’ll pull away, of course. Why would they do that? Because they too are afraid . . . afraid of dementia, afraid of seeing changes in the woman they have loved, afraid of the pain they’ll feel when Mom isn’t her old self. And because they are busy caring for their loved ones, doing their own work, living their own lives.

And then where would I be? Embarrassed that I asked them, afraid of asking anyone else.

But what if someone says yes? What if someone reaches out and offers to take her out to lunch, or go to a museum with her? What’s the reward?

The smile on my mother’s face. The sense that she’s okay for one more day. The peace of knowing I’m part of team that extends beyond my immediate family.

This disease is only going to get worse. I have a feeling there are many risks ahead. I hope I can take this one.