I was talking about the show “Hoarders” with a client this week. I love organization and it’s something I work on with my clients, but it’s not a show I enjoy watching or choose to watch. I have watched it in the past because of what I do and out of curiosity. The premise of the show is that there are people whose houses are so crammed full of stuff that they can hardly move. Something has happened in their lives or the lives of family members and as a result they’re finally deciding to try to do something about the clutter. The Hoarders team is brought in and together the client and team work to not only throw out or donate a lot of stuff, they also talk about the non-visible clutter that made the visible clutter get this bad in the first place. I saw a recent commercial for it featuring an individual who had been on the show as a client and he shared his thankfulness about the transformation that took place in his life through the show. If you’ve seen it you know that as a result of the work the clients do experience great transformations and are given a fresh start at life.
The reason I bring it up is because of the conversation we were having around it. Yes, the craziness of the hoarding was mentioned, and they said that they sometimes get sucked in and watch because they can’t believe it and it just amazes them. The reason I like the show is because they achieve a great transformation with it. I’m not a fan of news TV because often it’s just a report, nothing is done about the issue. Yes, it’s great that issues are coming to light, but just bringing them to light doesn’t really do anything. The rare exception is when someone’s experience or emotions are confirmed around a situation or person and they’re able to find some peace or freedom as a result (like hearing the story of a rape survivor or knowing a dishonest executive was sent to jail may give them some peace even if the individual that raped them or took their money wasn’t).
Yes, I take time to look at the issues with myself and my clients, I don’t believe we can really move on unless we take time to work through them and understand them at least a little and see how they fit into our life story. But I don’t believe it’s healthy for all of us to be bringing up our history or focusing on what went wrong in our lives all of the time. I believe there has to be a point at which we choose to move forward and start telling a new story. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to move on to what 2017 has for us. I’m tired of talking about 2016 and the past, and ready to start equipping myself and others to conquer all this year has to offer. Are you?
Every year we cover a ton of topics, from the tough stuff to enjoying life more. There are lots of changes happening around the world, some faster than others and some seemingly slow and we feel like they’ll never happen. Whether you’re talking about finances, the economy, politics, jobs/business/careers, the environment, energy, health or just plain relationships and families, things are changing whether people want them to or not, and we typically identify with one group’s perspective on a topic more than we do with another’s. We read or hear the news about tragedies that happen around our world, and sometimes we get an up close and personal look at them when they happen in our part of the world. I hurt when I see or hear about other people around the world getting hurt, even if they’re not people I know. There are tons of reasons to be scared or worried or concerned or frustrated or anxious about life. But is that really the way you want to live your life?
Personally I want to love my life. I want life to be filled with things I love, things that make me happy, things that challenge me in a good way, things that I feel good about and people I care about. I may not have control over everything, but in this day and age we do have a whole lot of options and the ability to control quite a bit and certainly the ability to make decisions about what and who we want in our lives. I want to be able to look back and feel good about what I’ve done and the relationships I’ve had.
One of the things we’ll be talking about this year is having that kind of life and how to get it. We’ll talk a little about what holds us back from getting that life, but as I recently talked about with a client, you don’t really need me to point out all the bad stuff and talk more about it. I’d much rather go from the established fact that the issues exist and start working on getting past/through/over and beyond them. Let’s start off the weekend with a simple question: what do you love about your life?
October is typically known for one thing here in the US: Halloween. I love seeing all the creative things that kids choose to wear and am still a big fan of candy even if I can’t eat it much anymore. I’ve also been known to watch a scary movie or two, as well as watch some shows about ghosts on TV. Recently I was watching one that got me thinking about the reality of ghosts. I’ve seen too many shows to not believe that there is something that we can’t see going on in the world. While I do believe that there’s Heaven and a life after this one, there’s also something that clearly interacts with us in our world, known under the common term of ‘ghosts.’ Some of the ghosts are able to interact with us, but others aren’t aware of us or how things have changed since they lived.
What got me thinking about ghosts was a comment about if they belong here with us. There are some ghosts that are happy to be here, others that are frustrated and feel trapped here, others that we’re keeping here and the group of ghosts that are unaware of being here. The ghosts I want to focus on today are those who are frustrated and trapped and those who we’re keeping here. While I don’t have personal knowledge or experience with ghosts, if ghosts are anything like people I can believe that there are ghosts like that. I can believe that there are ghosts who get stuck and act out as a result. I can also believe that some ghosts are kept here by us because we can’t let them go or we do things to keep them here like seances, Ouija boards and maybe even ghost hunting. As much as it’s cool and interesting to interact with ghosts and prove their existence, with these ghosts it sounds like it would be better if we would let them go instead of trying to keep them here with us.
This discussion on ghosts reminded me a lot about how we live our lives too. We have been known to hold ourselves back, we’ve been known to act out towards others because we’re frustrated and we’re known to hold others back as well for one reason or another (including jealousy). Just like it’s necessary to let some of the ghosts go on their way and not stay with us, it’s equally (or more) important to work on freedom in our lives.
I encourage you to take time this week to figure out if you’ve been holding yourself back, if you’ve been holding others back, if you feel trapped, and what you’re going to do to change it. Maybe it’s writing a letter to someone who has passed on that you’re letting hold you back from developing your full potential. Maybe it’s enrolling in a class to further your skills, maybe it’s getting coffee with someone to bury the hatchet. Maybe it’s just choosing to forgive someone or yourself and letting go of the past. Whatever it is I encourage you to make moves this week so that you can live your life with happiness and fulfillment.
This past Friday was Read an eBook Day and September 6th was Read a Book Day, and of course it’s back to school month so there’s lots of talk of learning! I am a huge book lover, I love reading articles online and in my emails and think that reading is one of the best ways to learn. Of course there are other ways of learning, but to me it’s one of the best and most enjoyable. There’s nothing quite like holding a book in your hand, but eBooks have certainly revolutionized the book industry and made it much easier for everyone to be able to read, not just those who have access to physical books or a place to keep them.
I always check out book list posts when they come through my inbox because I like to know what other people are reading both fiction and non-fiction. Sometimes there will be books that inspire you or give you a new perspective on something that you would have never picked up yourself but thanks to someone else’s recommendation you’re able to read. I usually go first to my local library and see if I can get the book through there since it’s not necessarily something I want to keep a copy of.
One of the things I’ve been seeing lately on posts like these and especially others that talk about the benefits of reading is how down on fiction books they are. I love reading books about and by great leaders that can help further my knowledge about business, people and personal growth. I’ve even read a couple good history books. But the majority of books I read are fiction books, as are the majority of books I read with kids.
Why do I love fiction books? First because of their passion for adventure, curiosity, love, relationships, learning, growing, dedication and sense of accomplishment. Many authors do extensive research before doing writing and do their best to make many of the details in their books accurate to how things are in the world and given the fictional setting and characters is often a more palatable way for people to learn things. Second because they keep us adults connected to the passion and energy that kids go through life with. We encourage our kids to read anything they can get their hands on and enjoy when they’re kids. But when they become adults we start telling them to read newspapers and serious publications because the fiction they used to read can’t be good for anything now as adults. But as with other things, it’s not true.
I believe there’s a need for us as adults to spend time in worlds where things are a little less structured and a lot more fun. We’re super serious because of all that goes on in the world and because of all we’ve seen. But just because we need to know about the reality of the world around us, doesn’t mean that a little fun, adventure and out-of-the-box thinking can’t get us just as far or further than if we just work with the box. So get out there this week and try a new author, read a favorite author’s latest book, or pick up one of your favorites and get lost in it for a little while.
July 18th was the birthday of one of the great men of the world: Nelson Mandela (celebrated as “Mandela Day”). No one is perfect (Mandela included), but he’s someone who showed throughout his life that he was a true leader. A 2013 article on Mandela called him a “Dissident, Liberator and Statesman.” Those are 3 big titles that all say something important about who he was, but the one I wanted to focus on today is “liberator.”
Mandela knew what it was to be not free, he spent 27 years in prison for his efforts to make South Africa a better place for people. Some people, having had his experience, would throw in the towel and spend the rest of their years quietly, thankful to be free. But Mandela never gave up on his dreams of and plans for a better life for himself and the people he loved, and people around the world too.
We take time each year to remember people like Nelson Mandela and the dreams they had for a reason, a reason that seems more important than ever with the violence over the past few weeks and months around the world. People like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr, and countless other men and women who have passed on would not be proud of the people some of us have become. I think they would be happy to see that some thing have changed and are changing for the better, but sad that we are fighting on many of the same things that should have already been addressed, and creating issues that shouldn’t be issues and haven’t been in the past.
What it comes down to is that the world is always in need of more people like Nelson Mandela. You don’t have to be in a traditional position of power to make a difference, you have to decide that you’re going to give your best effort to fixing or alleviating the problem(s) you see in the world. Whether you make that effort in jail, on the street, in your office, in a school, or as a president doesn’t matter. What matters is that you choose to step up and let people know that they too can be liberated and choose what they want to make out of life.
This week I’ve been thinking about changes and happened to see a beautiful setting sun. We all have seasons where the sun sets on parts of our lives. Sometimes it’s the death of a family member or close friend, sometimes it’s a job or career change, sometimes it’s a new place to live and other times it’s smaller like the end of a brand or product we loved. The transition time isn’t something we do well with or enjoy all the time. Endings and partings aren’t things we always enjoy either, and they can be difficult and painful, and sometimes confusing especially if you weren’t expecting it.
Some of us get stuck in the change and transition process, others of us can’t let go of the past, and some of us are so busy moving forward that we don’t grieve and let go of the past. I think in most cases it’s important to take time to remember the past, work through the transition and move forward. I don’t think we should skip any of these steps, whether our past was bad or good. Learning from a bad past is helpful, but it’s also important to take time to cement the memories of the good things you have had or experienced. Yes, life is about moving forward and living to the fullest, but part of that fullness is the past that has brought you to this point.
This weekend, this summer, I encourage you to take time to enjoy the setting sun as well as the rising sun. With the late summer nights and early summer mornings there are lots of opportunities to see the sun and remember it as part of your life. I remember lots of trips as a child where we would watch the rising or setting sun while driving and a few thunderstorms too. Those are treasured memories from my childhood and I am thankful for them. Choose to find the beauty in the endings in your life this summer, not just the joy in the future or relief of leaving the past.
There’s something that most of us do but don’t really have the right things in mind when doing it. What am I talking about? Wanting. Do you really want that jelly doughnut, or do you want something sweet in general (could be healthy like summer raspberries) but the doughnut happens to be handy, are you trying to procrastinate or avoid something by eating it, or are you ignoring what your body really wants to eat by having the doughnut? I know, it’s a really simple example, but food is one of the areas that we’re most confused in about our real wants.
Every day we use the word “want” countless times. ‘I want to do this.’ ‘I want that one.’ ‘I want this more than you.’ ‘I want you to do it.’ The list could go on. And on the surface the question I bring up today is about whether or not you really want what you think you want. But it’s also about something so much bigger and deeper.
Last Friday was the Brexit vote, something that’s still being talked about and debated, and will be for some time. And coming up on Monday in the US we’ve got Independence Day, the day we remember when in 1776 the people of the US signed the Declaration of Independence from Britain. My point? It would be easy for people in pre-Brexit UK or Pre-Independence Day US to say ‘I want a better job’ or ‘I want a better house’ or ‘I want to make things work better between our countries.’ And none of those things are wrong. But the people of the UK and US in 1776 made some really big choices that they don’t want to just work on improving in the current (or what was current) situation, they want a new set of rules, new set of opportunities and future that doesn’t line up with how things are (were) going in the present.
As I said, it’s not wrong to want to improve within the confines of your current situation. But if you have the ability to want for something more, something bigger, something different, something new, something better for not just you but many people, why wouldn’t you want that? As we look towards the 4th in the US and the future of the UK, I encourage you to consider your life. What do you really want from and in your life?