Discover The Best Of You

by Lance Ekum on January 28, 2013 · 3 comments

 

relationships

"I miss you, sweetie."

This was a comment my fiancé made today. He doesn't mean he misses seeing me, but rather he is feeling disconnected. It has been a hectic week so far and, as he put it, this week feels like we are just passing in a hall, but not connecting.

He's right; it's how I feel as well. Chores, tending to our kids, dinner prep, and work, all attributed to this. Arriving home from teaching at 10:30 last night after working an 11-hour day didn't help either. I am not worried though because the fiancé and I know the formula for success to keep our relationship healthy. It's simple, actually:

Do the work necessary to keep the relationship on track.

Last weekend, for example, we had a kid-free, relaxed weekend to reenergize our relationship after the busy workweek last week. We were slow to get up in the morning, went to two movies, had interruption-free conversations (hard with four kids at home), ate out at great restaurants, enjoyed cooking together, and watched hockey. To us, it was perfect.

Realistically, it's not always possible to carve out that much alone time for most busy couples.

Here are some quick, easy ways to do the work to stay connected when life gets busy:

  1. Place a love note in a briefcase or coat pocket.
  2. Reach out in the middle of the day with an I-love-you text or email. Better yet, a quick call.
  3. Do something unexpected.
  4. Establish a weekly in-home date night. It could be watching a video, seeing your favorite TV show, or having a later dinner without the kids.
  5. When you have that moment to connect, give all of your attention to your partner (i.e., no electronic devices)
  6. Wake up ten minutes earlier to snuggle before the day begins.
  7. Email a link to a YouTube video of a special song you both love.
  8. Slow dance in the middle of the living room.
  9. Get up early enough to see the sun rise together before going to work.
  10. Ask about the other's day, and listen attentively.

Please share: what are the small ways you work to keep your relationship fresh and healthy?


by Kelly Sajonia

"When our eyes see our hands doing the work of our hearts, the circle of creation is completed inside us, the doors of our souls fly open and love steps forth to heal everything in sight." -Michael Bridge

I love this quote. I love the simplicity of it. I love how it boils down the nuances, subtle or not. Live your heart's desire it says, and all will be well.

Only, you and I both know; there's a lot more to it than that.

I co-founded a business with a friend 2 years ago. It's an inspirational, conceptual card and gift company. It was birthed from a vision my partner saw in her mind; a sad person standing alone in the middle of nowhere and someone on the back of a cart handing them a small piece of paper with a note on it. The note is read, the strangers connect with their eyes and they smile and something shifts ever so slightly in the universe.

My business partner and I are both mothers. Both concerned about the future of our world for our children's sake. We wanted to create something that would make a difference. We decided that the vision was about connecting people. It was about banishing loneliness and creating a deeper space for kindness among friends and strangers.

Our hands began to do the work of our hearts. We translated that vision into a product line and at first we felt the "circle of creation" was complete. We'd had the vision, we'd used our powers of imagination and all kinds of skill sets we never knew we had and created an actual physical manifestation of the vision.

We felt at that point that something magical would take place. That the doors of our souls would open and love would heal all, meaning we'd be validated, we'd be happy, we'd be fulfilled…but then we had to concretize our product in the marketplace. We had to have a Facebook account, we had to learn to use Twitter and Hootsuite and find a web designer. We needed to find legions of people to sell it for us all over the country. We needed to go to gift shows and write business plans and learn to create articles for ourselves for PR purposes.

Someone told us that if we created a couple of new products they'd sell even better then the first one. So we created them. We put our hearts and souls into that and found printers and eco-friendly packaging and designers and thought, OK when we get these to market, the circle will be complete and our souls will fly open and love will step forth and heal everything in sight. WooHooo!

But then there was the blog and the sales reps and the needing to get a national magazine and the new idea that would change the world…

And we realized, along the way, in fits and starts…that there wasn't anything outside ourselves that was going to suddenly show us that we'd made it or that we'd reached some great plateau of service where there was a band playing and a ribbon to be run through. It would never be that way. We would never be "at the end." It's a journey, (thank goodness) not a destination.

Just about that time, I went back and looked at that quote again…and I saw something I hadn't before;

"When our eyes see our hands doing the work of our hearts, the circle of creation is completed inside us, the doors of our souls fly open and love steps forth to heal everything in sight."

And it hit me, like a ton of bricks; it's in the doing that the circle is complete-not in the completion. Just in the doing. Think of that! It's the heartfelt intention and the doing that closes the circle. There is no race, there is no finality, there is no "winning." The doing is all that needs to be done for the reward of healing…just the doing.

And the healing isn't like a firework display, it's bits and pieces here and there that add up to a life well lived. It's an e-mail that says, "Keep up the good work," or a sales rep that tells us "I wish I had more clients who stood for something like you all." It's the willingness of others to step up and help make our dreams come true. It's the smile you see on someone face when you hand then one of your very own products and you know deep down inside, you made their day. The healing comes from the inside out.

"Doing," at first, requires only vision and hope. But "doing" continually, regardless of the level of encouragement or gratification, requires faith and a solidity of purpose and mission. It requires being present to the moment you are in and a knowing that you are enough.

If someone had told me only 2 short years ago the kinds of spiritual lessons I'd be learning as a business owner, I'd have laughed and said they were crazy. But I have found that if I can be present, truly present, in the "doing" that my heart is happy, that my soul sings, the circle of creation is already complete and my healing is inevitable.


by Elisa Van Arnam

angermanagement

If you've ever been to a Wal-Mart on Black Friday, you've probably had a moment where you've lamented the loss of common courtesy. Whether someone barged in front of you in line, cut you off, or cursed you out for having the audacity to cross the street “too slow.” All it takes is a few hours in public to realize that bad manners are all around us. According to a Good Housekeeping survey, 79 percent of us feel people are ruder than they were 10 years ago, and 42 percent encounter rude behavior on a daily basis.

You may not be able to fix every jerk on the street, but you can certainly be a drop in the bucket of a more pleasant society. After all, that co-worker who snapped at you could very well be a secret humanitarian who just happens to be having a very bad day.

Resurrecting the Thoughtful Gift

When was the last time you ordered fresh flowers online? How about a handmade note, an actual paper one, not some click-n-forward e-card? Giving small tokens of thought and appreciation is a dying art on our screen obsessed world, but it doesn't have to be.

The simple act of presenting a grumpy co-worker or acquaintance with a token of care or appreciation can move mountains in the world of morale. Next time the accounting department seems to be in an unusual tizzy, instead of complaining to HR, try getting some daisies, or other flowers online, or a round of coffees.

Stepping Outside Yourself When Angry

When confronted, our brains have an animal-esque “fight or flight” reaction, depending on our hormones, according to Wellsphere.com. Once someone is rude to us and the anger or defense takes hold, it's extremely difficult to take a step back and let yourself cool down. Next time someone snaps at you, or you witness something you deem selfish or unjust, suppress the anger urges and remember it's a fleeting, completely hormonal response.

If you have time to change your temperamental ways, take a yoga class and learn the benefits of meditation. It will lessen the stress and increase your energy, according to Online.Prevention.com.

Slamming the Brakes on Road Rage

Crazy stories about road rage frequently circulate. We all know that in the grand scheme of life, who cares if some guy doesn't use his blinker? But for some reason, we continue to honk excessively and flip strangers the bird on a regular basis. What is it about his mentality that seems to be so pervasive in our society?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) actually estimates two thirds of deadly accidents are caused by aggressive driving. Rudeness is all around us, and it's very easy to fall victim to and crave retaliation, but that only fuels the problem's flames. Next time somebody flips you off, snaps at you or generally makes your life more unpleasant, countering it with the gift of kindness is the best and only way to throw a wrench in the world's baddest new habit.

The 4 Principles of Receiving

by Guest Author

Giving is certainly an important part of life. But so is receiving. After all, these two always go together: when one person gives, another one receives. And many times you’ll be at the receiving end of a transaction. I believe that it’s just as significant to be a good receiver in life as it is […]

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Snow Forts

by Jason Kotecki

I loved building snow forts when I was a kid. For those of us who grew up in climates with frosty winters, it was a classic childhood pastime. After a big snowfall, it was it was easy to start visioning what sort of fort you would build. Your imagination kicking into high gear, you’d think […]

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The Bruce Lee Guide to Doing the Work

by Stacey Curnow

In the last several months I’ve talked a lot about doubts and fears – my personal challenges and those of my clients. I’ve talked about where those fears come from and what to do about them. But you know what? They’re never going to stop. And here’s the thing: You don’t want them to stop. […]

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Remember The Past, Work To The Future

by Jen Slayden

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind ? Should old acquaintance be forgot, and old lang syne ? How many of you joined in the chorus of the popular tune “Auld Lang Syne” when the clock struck midnight on New Years? I know I did, and I have for years. But I […]

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4 Ways to Prepare for a New Baby

by Guest Author

When you have a new baby on the way, you may find yourself killing time anxiously awaiting your new arrival. If that’s the case, here are a few tips you can use to fill your time and make the first few weeks and months after you bring your new bundle home a bit easier on […]

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