I’m a day behind in my 30DLBL assignments because I celebrated the last day of summer yesterday by going sailing instead of sitting at my computer!
The one question in today’s 30DLBL assignment that hit home is the one I’ll get my Future Self to address. “What are the biggest things your Present Self should do from now on to live your life to the fullest?” First, I’m going to change the “should” to “can”. (I have worked hard on removing the word “should” from my vocabulary.) So, here’s my question for my Future Self:
“What are the biggest things your Present Self can do from now on to live your life to the fullest?”
My Future Self answered the following. My Future Self apparently has a purple-ink pen. Glad to see her color preferences are consistent with mine ;).
Kate, seek more often to enjoy the variety that life offers you. Be more willing to fit adventures into your days. To do things you don’t usually do. I know you find a deep contentment, even joy, in your lifestyle and routines. I know you’re happy being a hermit. Still, I’d like you to also give this a try: When some idea for an activity crosses your mind or appears before you, and it appeals to you, make a plan to do it. Hey! I know you too well…. I’m saying, make A Definite Plan, don’t just say the usual, “I’ll do it when I get a round tuit.” Try this, instead: Accept and do more of those ideas. You tend to put them on the back burner. I’m saying, put them on the front burner instead!
Here’s the rub. You just never know when an opportunity will disappear, or when your health may change so that you can’t do as much, or when your partner will no longer be around so you can enjoy doing things with him. You cannot anticipate what changes will come, or when. So….
Riffing on this theme, with the help of Wikipedia:
In Horace, the phrase is part of the longer Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero — “Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future.” The ode says that the future is unknowable, and that instead one should scale back one’s hopes to a brief future, and drink one’s wine. This phrase is usually understood against Horace’s Epicurean background
A Rabbinic version of this idea: “And if not now, when?” (Pirkei Avoth 1:14)
“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.” The first line from the poem “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time” by Robert Herrick.
Horace himself parodies his Carpe Diem phrase in another of his poems, The town mouse and the country mouse. He uses the phrase Carpe Viam meaning “seize the road” to compare the two different attitudes to life of a person (or in this case, a mouse) living in a city and in the countryside.
Robin Williams’s character in the film Dead Poets Society (1989) says, “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” The American Film Institute ranked this line number 95 in its list of the 100 best quotations in American film history.
Thanks, Future Self. I think you probably approve of my choice yesterday to get off my butt and go sailing. Why did it take so much coaxing-of-Self to get going and do that? It was great once I got out there! I was glad to get away from the demands and to-do’s that I had been imagining held power over my day. They didn’t really. They just really needed me to give them each some time on the back burner. When I got home, I realized that putting those items on the back burner had actually burned off some of their power over me.
“I think those thoughts, too,” came from my wiser Future Self. Good to know!
Your advice, Future Self, rings very true, and is synchronous with my Mission Statement:
To live in the now and to do everything that my Future Self will wish she’d done.
To live so that I have no regrets.
When I signed up for the 30DLBL project (30 Days to Living Your Best Life), I created two affirmations. They are my theme for the month. They’re my go-to thoughts as I work on each of the assignments. Here’s my computer desktop image I created for the month….. one of my flower photos plus my two affirmations. This way I see them and read them often during the day, computer addict that I am. 😉
Today’s assignment for the 30DLBL project is to create an inspirational room in our homes. I’ve actually tried to make every room in our small condo inspirational, have worked at it over the years. I’ve painted all the walls myself, lots of color and atmosphere. I hang my own art and photographs around the house and my crafts are displayed here and there too.
Two shots of the living area with my art on the walls:
My art room is a bright, colorful, fun place to work. It’s surrounded by sunny windows; you can see some of our deck outside in the first photo.
A tabletop fountain garden in my art room:
Outside we have a big terrace, so each year I create a different small garden with stones and potted plants.
In another area of the terrace we have a sitting area for reading and visiting under a big awning. We have a double hammock (in the foreground below, covered with a Mexican blanket). In the hammock, we rest, meditate, read, etc. and on summer nights we snuggle in it together and watch the stars and the satellites go by overhead.
Our bedroom is also my meditation room, quite often our reading room, a peaceful refuge for rest and play :). In various corners I have inspiring things, like my tibetan bowl, my fountain of crystals, art work, candles in my candleholder collection, various incense burners, music player with meditation-style music, ocean waves, etc. I also have 4 or 5 dreamcatchers hanging here and there, some of which I made.
My crystal fountain:
One big bedroom window faces the sunshine. There you can see my hanging crystals. Their rainbows dance around the walls. Right outside the window is my small rock & plants garden you saw above. Lights are woven through a surround of small trees, and they auto-light up when the sun sets, giving that window a whole different view at night.
Directly outside another bedroom window that’s ahead of us as we sit in bed, we’ve built a big “buddha fountain” on the terrace. Flowing water comes out of a big rock and trickles down and over a platform of slate. The fountain is surrounded by potted plants and outdoor carpet. There’s a rope light around the inside of the fountain framework, so at night the rocks and water are lit up. It’s a beautiful, meditative view when it gets dark out and we turn off our bedroom lights.
Here’s the view of the above fountain looking out the window from where I sit in bed.
AND….. saving the best for last….. outside every window we can see amazing views out over our favorite city in the world, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Our views look south and west and northwest. Best of all are the hundreds of sunsets we get to see every year.
So in terms of today’s assignment, every room in our condo is “my inspiring room”, each with a different type of inspiration. Even my bathroom is inspirational. The walls and ceiling are pale green (a healing color), there’s a bamboo plant and photos/paintings of bamboo scenes. I have candles and an aromatherapy burner, and big luxurious bamboo towels. There’s a window right inside the bath/shower that opens to the outdoor terrace to let in the summer warmth and sunshine or the starry night sky.
The only place I have yet to make “inspiring” is my office/computer room. It’s very efficient and organized, though, and it’s just what I need for this kind of room. My desktop holds some favorite knick-knacks; inspirational quotes are stuck around my desk and shelves, and one of my boxes of inspirational-quotation cards sits handy, next to me. Seems good to me. When I look above my desk, several paintings of favorite far-away places take my eyes and my mind away for a rest now and then. And my favorite photo of me and my kids is up there too.
Today’s project and assignment for 30DLBL is picking one of my goals and making an Action Plan for it.
Today I’m going to tackle the FITNESS thing. I mentioned it in my Day 1 musings:
When I think about increasing CREATIVITY this month, I get excited. When I think about increasing FITNESS activity this month, I get a knot in my belly. I resist.
Since then, I’ve really zoomed ahead with Creativity, but the F-word, not so much. I’m still feeling that knot of resistance. I’m good at justifying, giving myself a break, making up all sorts of “reasons” (excuses!) for not doing a fitness thing each day. Whaddup?
This is what’s true for me today:
> I want to increase my fitness level
> Some days I really go for it
> Some days I really resist it: (Stick to a fitness program? Stick to an action plan about it? That feels like a threat to me, not an action plan.) Whoa, such resistance!
Musings about my resistance:
- Lightbulb #1 for today. One reason I retired was that I no longer wanted anybody else to be in control of my time or my life. I plan to live the rest of my life in the NOW….. expectations from others were removing some of my ability to live in the moment. So anyway, along the same lines, if I set myself up with an obligation to do something fitness-oriented every day, I’m setting obligations on my time. Somebody is controlling me and my time. Ya, that somebody is Me, but still.
- Lightbulb #2. Apparently, I don’t mind saying I’m going to do something creative every day. So what’s with not liking to say the same thing about something fitness oriented??? I happily made an affirmation about creativity for this month. I know affirmations are my best way to “change my mind” (transform my thinking). What’s clear today is that I need to “change my mind” about how I view fitness activities. So today I’m catching myself in my own resistance.
Today I’m making an affirmation about fitness!
> (like, duh!)
> (why didn’t I think of this earlier? oh, I’ve been so good at resisting this!)
> (so transform THAT thought, too, Kate!, like, “I have absolutely no resistance to getting active and fit.”)
I regularly enjoy physical activity
and my body is strong and healthy.
CREATING A CODE WORD
I like Celes’s idea of creating a code-word for a goal and its action plan. To figure that out, I’m thinking:
> I’m hereby going to think of Fitness activities as Fun.
> For Fitness, I’ll do Fun stuff.
> I’m taking the F from fitness and giving it over to F for FUN.
So, my code-word ideas:
> F-word (formerly F for Fitness, now F for Fun!)
> FOK (Fit Old Kate?) (or Funny Old Kate?) (or Fun! OK, Kate?)
I guess the FOK = Fun! OK, Kate? is best.
> It’s the most fun.It’s the most uplifting, the most positive.
> When I get frustrated with myself and/or notice resistance, I can say to self, FOK that!
> (So it kind of includes the F-word idea too, which I like because it has a certain strength and heads-up quality.)
NOW…… on with my FOK Action Plan!
I’m using Celes’s method page as a guide to creating my FOK Action Plan, as follows.
GOAL: To make fitness activities an enjoyable constant in my life.
MY IDEAL: Fitness activities are an enjoyable constant in my life.
- I refuse to particpate in the myth of age=deteriorating body.
- To get back to where doing something physical doesn’t make my body hurt for a day after it.
- To maintain my excellent health.
- To become stronger.
- To enjoy using my body as much as I enjoy using my mind, my creativity, my computer, etc.
- Simply, to completely enjoy being very active.
- Today I’m adding my FOK affirmation to my computer desktop image.
- Today I’m adding “Review and Evaluate FOK” to my Calendar as a recurring Saturday reminder.
- This week I’m doing something physical-FOK 3 times.
- On Saturday, I’m reviewing and evaluating my progress.
- Next week I’m doing something FOK 4 times. On Saturday, I’m reviewing and evaluating my progress.
- Every day, I’m reading my FOK affirmation.
- Every Saturday, I’m reviewing and evaluating my progress.
- I’m continuing with the 4-times-a-week FOK activity schedule.
- I’m seeking and trying physical activities that I don’t normally do.
- As I get stronger, I’m regularly seeking out FOK activities that have an increased physical challenge for me.
OBSTACLE: The weather, mostly. My favorite activity right now is walking. Walking is definitely FOK already. However, when it rains, I don’t go out for my walk.
STRATEGIES to address the above obstacle:
On a rainy day, or whenever my resistance rears up, I will:
out this worksheet and re-read it!
- Accept no excuses, rationalizations, laziness, or giving-self-a-break thoughts.
- Ask a buddy for help: “Will you do something active with me today?”
- Be creative about alternatives, such as:
> Use the treadmill in the gym in my building.
> Use the opportunity to do some weights in the gym instead of the walking.
> If it’s Wednesday or Friday, go to the class I like at the nearby community center.
> Ask my invited help-buddy to pick an activity and then go do it with him/her.
I’m on top of goal setting! I’ve lived by specific goals all my life. I’ve done this 5-year, 3-year, 1-year goal-setting activity over and over again. So I don’t need to do today’s homework.
Now, at this time of my life, my primary goal is to live in the present tense. To enjoy NOW to the fullest. Yes, I do find it enjoyable to have something planned for the near future (a holiday, a trip, a class I’ve signed up for, an event I plan to attend, a get-together with a friend, etc.). While these and longer-term plans do help to give form to my days, weeks, and months, I also know that, for me, long-term goal setting is no longer necessary for me to live happily in a high-quality life.
I can achieve all I want to achieve by living in the moment, fully. Doing that isn’t easy, so I’m working on getting good at it. So if I write this up as my goal-plan as Celes defines the process in her blog posts, here’s my chart. The first row defines my life goal and breaks it down into the shorter term goals. The second is me working on my September affirmation about creativity (defined in my Day 1 blog post) and projecting it into the 5-year future.
OK, so I did today’s homework after all. Sheesh! I’m pretty much addicted to self-development, that’s all there is to it.
DAY 5 of the 30DLBL project (“Live A Better Life in 30 Days”) is for defining our values. I think our core values change over time. I don’t have a long list of personal values these days. Since “Life’s Too Short for [fill in the blank with whatever]” has started to become significant because of my age, this same thought has helped me narrow down and highlight what’s most important to me. I have also come to recognize that the items on my list of values will keep changing. New values may develop, previous ones may disappear, and the order of priority will change.
When I wrote my list, I included definitions under each main word so that I can remain clear on how I want to live out each value.
1. Truth. This includes:
- honesty in all my words
- integrity in all my actions
- openness in all my relationships
- requesting & expecting truth from people I have relationships with
- being genuinely ME in all circumstances. Ancillary to this is to cease worrying about what other people think of me (that’s the hard one).
2. Joy. This includes:
- Having fun whenever possible.
- Being silly whenever possible.
- Being happy.
- Savoring life.
- Approaching everything with zest, with enthusiasm.
3. Lifelong learning. This includes:
- always studying something new
- being open in mind and in heart, accept the new, the different, the weird & wonderful
- accepting personal challenges from time to time in order to expand my learning about myself
- Curiosity. This includes:
- seeking new answers
- seeking new questions
- listening to what’s important to other people
4. Peace. This includes:
- seeking harmony
- seeking tranquility
- helping others seek their own peace & tranquility
- respect for all life
5. Being ethical. This includes:
- striving to be the best I can be in all I do
- striving to set an example for others
- obeying my conscience
- honoring other people’s higher values and dreams
- helping to preserve mother earth’s gifts
- living according to all aspects of my #1 value: truth
Here’s my map of my current core values: