Sunday, March 24, 2013

Whatever Floats Your Boat

Have you ever heard the expression "Whatever floats your boat?" Looking around, you can see that there are many styles of boats available when it comes to rowing, sailing, or other means of maneuvering through health and life. Are all of them for you? No. Are some of them applicable to you? Yes.

How can you tell the difference?

We live in an age where you can flip on the T.V. and see commercials or shows plugging hundreds of ways to exercise and shed pounds. As the supplement industry grows, there are huge assortments of pills, sprays, tinctures, and lozenges to choose from. On the other end of the spectrum, we have the latest and greatest pharmaceutical drugs that come out to treat conditions such as dry eyes or weak bones.

Businessman watching televisionYour healthcare provider may tell you to get some strange-sounding labs done, to drink 8 glasses of water a day, and then send you on your way to host of specialists. Or your acupuncturist may order 10 cupping sessions. Your chiropractor wants to see you regularly for low back adjustments. Your friend tells you to visit a spiritual guru who has recently helped her heal from past blockages. And your boss wants you to attend a spiritual business seminar to grow in your sales potential. Did you even know those existed?

Male or female health magazines remind you not to forget daily abdominal crunches, to drink different colored smoothies, and to meditate for at least 10 minutes a day (not to mention doing all this while wearing the latest styles and fashions.) Your homeopath wants to check in with you again on your energetic shifts. Your dentist sends you a postcard about your next cleaning.

"Yikes!" you say. "I get the point. And yet I feel inundated with all this sometimes. When do all the messages end?" The messages don't end. They're always waiting there for you, trying to sell a message, product, or service that solves your problems. Some can genuinely help you on your unique journey, others can't, and still others will set you back.

It becomes important in a consumer-based health society to be able to say "Whatever floats your boat" to some of those invitations and "Yes" to others that really do float your boat or that you want to try out.

What works for everyone else won't always work for you, and sometimes you don't want to find that out after you've spent a lot of time, energy, and money attempting everything that everyone's tried out.

So, what's the answer? Sign up for muscle testing sessions to see if something resonates with you? Nah, let's ditch that idea as a go-to. Instead, look at yourself and at what's being offered. Feel free to be honest with what you really think in your own head, even while experimenting and trying out new things once in a while.

If you don't like something you can say, "Talk to the hand." No guilt included. Believe it or not, adults live in a state of peer pressure just as much as kids and teenagers do. Often, when people are grabbing for answers inside new messages, products, services, or other external sources, they may be scared and want others to join them (jump on their boat) for reassurance. It's okay to recognize when this is happening.

Other times, something out there may naturally resonate with you, whether others around you are partaking or not. Not everything will float your boat and that's okay. The pieces of the puzzle that make up your true health and desired lifestyle come first and foremost from within you. Nothing out there offers an answer that looms larger than that. Inside that picture, if you look with a discerning eye, you'll find things that will help nudge you toward getting where you want to go.
So, what (really) floats your boat lately?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Give Yourself a Chance

The world presents human beings with some tough love. On the one hand, it can feel like possibilities are within reach. Equally on the other hand, it can feel like possibilities are out of reach. Argh--so close, yet so far away.

I had a fourth grade teacher in Ohio who frequently repeated that phrase with accompanying groans from us students: "So close, yet so far away." He was probably referring to the probability of us getting an 'A' on one of his quizzes or tests.

Where do you rate your chances? Is your desired pot of gold extremely close, or is it far far away?

I used to think that the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow just materialized out of thin air if you were lucky enough to find the end of the rainbow. Only recently I read that Leprechauns actually work every day as shoe makers and store their pay (or gold) in a pot which they safe guard at the end of the rainbow. Now this version of the story has an entirely different meaning.

Often, people end up feeling like their chances are out of reach because the world is snatching them away at rapid speed. In fact, this feeling can become so prominent in an individual's mind that it becomes a habit to assume that with every available chance--the world will instantly snatch the opportunity away.

What are you left with after thinking that way? By default, you're left with missed opportunities, failed opportunities, or opportunities that are snatched away before you can even aim your efforts on them.

Sometimes it's important to notice that it's not only the world that offers you chances--it's you who offers yourself the chance to get what you want out of life. You have just as much power as the world to either give yourself a chance or to snatch it out from under your nose. Every time you're on the verge of snuffing out one of your opportunities, you may end up hearing these words subtly play in your mind: "So close, yet so far away."

Does the world rip these chances away from your reach, or do you do it? Maybe a little of both? Maybe the world follows your own lead in certain situations. It's a question worth asking because the answer isn't always so self-evident. What you thought was the world stopping you could be you stopping yourself. And other times when you're bent on blaming yourself, maybe the situation was entirely out of your control to begin with.

In regards to chance in life, it's as important to be realistic as it is to believe in that pot of gold. The pot of gold is earned, not discovered (at least from what I've read on the topic. I'm not Irish, though--as far as I know.) And no one said this has to be an all or nothing situation. Your own unique pot of gold is neither extremely close nor far far away. Realistically it's somewhere in the middle.

The important thing is that you give yourself a chance. No matter what you see in front of you or behind you--you have the greatest power to give yourself a chance. More than the world, more than your family, more than your boss, more than your friends, and more than your children.

We're all unique in what we're aiming for. You've been storing something away in your pot. What is it? Luck comes to those who go for it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hold on by Letting Go

Last year I came across a must-read book by the unique author, Stephen J. Cannell, called "King Con." Let me tell you more about it.

The female protagonist of the book, Victoria Hart, becomes involved in a great con-job led by an artful, playful, and gutsy con artist named Beano Bates. This book immediately gripped my interest within the first few chapters because of the personality differences between Victoria and Beano.

Victoria is the type of person who labels her binders, organizes her notes, and has a personal script for herself in the professional field of law. As often happens, her habits in personal life reflect what she practices in her career. She is not someone who "plays it by ear" or "flies by the seat of her pants" in new situations. She's the type of person who plans it all out so that she can be sure of the outcome as much as possible.

Beano Bates, on the other hand, could also be said to have planning skills--but in the area of pulling off cons. He can sit down at a poker table and build a small fortune by conning the other players...without them having a clue what's happening. He has to read each situation on the fly even if he plans a few things ahead of time. A con-job is never completely predictable.

How do these two people's paths cross? I won't give that away, because you'll find out by reading the gripping book itself. But for today's blog post, I do want to share a key phrase that Beano shares with the female protagonist on the course of the book's adventure:  Hold on by Letting Go.

What does this mean? Well, for a character like Victoria Hart it means a lot because she's not used to "holding on by letting go," but rather holding on by holding on. She plans, and controls, and plans, and controls so that what ensues in her life will be scripted and not fall out from under her feet. Does this work out for her? I guess so--in a way. She can certainly practice law and tackle cases very effectively.

She learn something interesting from Beano, however, about holding on by letting go. She learns that planning and organizing each detail isn't the only way to grab the reins of your life.

How many of us hold so tightly to the things that we want that we almost suffocate them instead of letting them grow unfettered? When Beano tells Victoria to "hold on by letting go," he's telling her that sometimes what you want in life can come naturally with a little more freedom and a little more wheeling and dealing. Of course, a con artist would have more skills in that area than a lawyer like Victoria.

When you let go, even just a little, you can see what adventures will unfold naturally without your constant scrutiny. Everyone's different, and some people allow more wheeling and dealing in life. What about you? Do you think a bit of letting go would be refreshing for your own challenges?

Life certainly isn't predictable, and it resembles a con-job in that way. Sometimes, we try to make it feel more predictable for ourselves so we don't have to face as much heart break, disappointment, and the chance of failure. There can come a time where you wonder, "Is this predictability worth it?" What comes at the price of predictability?

I guess Beano's advice can come in handy for not only con-jobs, but also life and health in general. Maybe once in a while, it's okay to hold on by letting go. Where do you feel like letting go a bit?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Waiting for the Pot to Boil

Heard the expression, "A watched pot never boils?"

Have you ever hovered over a pot on the stove and waited for the water to boil? It takes time, and somehow the time seems to stretch out even farther when you're waiting for the change to happen.

You don't see anything at first, and then you slowly feel the pot physically warming up. After a little while, tiny bubbles start to form at the pot's base. Eventually, these tiny bubbles start chasing each other up to the water's surface. The bubbles start to dance faster and faster, until you see larger bubbles forming. Finally after about five to ten minutes, the water shows a rolling boil. Phew!

This event can be fun to watch once in a blue moon, if you have the patience for it. But what if you were to cover the pot, turn your back on it and do something else for five to ten minutes, and then return to it once it's boiling--without ever having watched all the steps in between?

Sometimes, with the changes we want to see with our health or with life in general, it can be tempting to hover over ourselves and wait expectantly for the changes to occur. Ironically, a lot of times when we're being our most attentive and we feel like change should come because of our intense focus on it, it evades us. Why?

Ever witnessed (or been) a teenager who gets a zit during the most inopportune time, like before a date or before the prom? The teenager stares at the menace in the mirror, telling it to be gone or else...and the darn thing gets bigger overnight! What happened? Why didn't it listen to the poor teen who needed to be seen blemish-free for an important moment in time?

Focus can be a good thing. If you focus on studies, you can do better on a test. If you focus on the road, you can be a safer driver. If you focus on what you want, you can take steps to get there. But in certain areas, there is such a thing as too much focus to the point where pressure starts to build and you prevent changes from happening naturally.

Too much focus can turn into a mixture of control and stress. You can start trying to control everything so that things can go your way, but naturally in this world not everything can be controlled. Also, you'll face the loss of not approaching situations as who you are because you're too fixated on the outcome of the change you'd like to see happen. Whether you want more financial freedom, a new job, a slimmer waist, more energy in life, less insomnia, a better diet, more mature communication with those you know, or whatever else.... might be worth it to give the changes enough space to breathe too. Change is rebellious, just like teenagers are or life is in general. If you try to control it too much, it can do the opposite of what you want it to do. You want faster, it'll go slower. You want cleaner, it'll go messier. You want smoother, it'll go rougher. Once in a while, if you take even a small step back and let the change happen more naturally, you may see more progress made with less effort from you and your focused mind!

Now, isn't that ironic?