Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve 2010

As the old year draws to a close and a new one is set to begin remember this:

What is the past is the past. It cannot be changed.

What is now is. It is the only time we have to act.

What is the future is undecided. It will be what we make it.

What is the past is the past. Learn from it and move on.

What is now is. Don't hesitate or the moment is lost.

What is the future is undecided. Look for the opportunities.

What is past is past. Let go the pain and remember the joy.

What is now is. Feel the pain, feel the joy. Live.

What is the future is undecided. Accept the pain as it comes, look for the joy.

What is past is gone

What is now is what we have

What is the future will have its time.

Live well and be happy in the New Year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Find Your Way Home

There are times in each of our lives when we start to feel lost. Changes comes at us too quickly and pile up one after another and we do not know what to do. When this happens it is easy to lose control and make bad choices based on fear and uncertainty. When we find ourselves lost, what we need to do is find our way home.

First the grid theory:

The grid theory states that we look at the world through a grid which brings order to our world. The things that are important to us line up with the grid and shape how we see the world.

When we become lost in our own lives the cardinal points on our grid have come out of alignment, and this changes our world view. To find our way home we have to shift our grid, find a few familiar points to line up with and then start looking for what else fits in, where everything else clicks or how it relates to our grid. As we do this the relationships between each element of our lives will start to solidify once again and we will feel less lost.

This may not stop us from feeling overwhelmed but it can help us to understand what is important and what is not.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Being Selfish or Getting What You Want

I have been talking with a few friends about what is being selfish and what is not. As you may remember I am a big proponent of knowing what you want and then doing what you can to get it. On the other hand I also believe that we need to be aware of the impact our actions have and our responsibility to act compassionately. While this can be a fine line to walk, it helps to understand what it really means to be selfish.

Selfishness is claiming things that will satisfy the desires of another in excess of the amount needed to satisfy your own wants and needs. With this in mind it becomes clear that we have to know not just what we want but also when a want is satisfied.

If we ere on the side of pleasing others then we allow them to be selfish, forsaking our wants and desires to make sure theirs are met. On the other hand if we over-satisfy ourselves we risk hurting others.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Change How You See Yourself

As the year comes to a close and we start to take stock of what has happened in the past 365 days we tally up what has worked and what has not, what has brought us pleasure and what has not, and the lessons we have learned or not learned. As I do this, one thing becomes apparent to me, and that is that it is more important to my successes to change my mental image of who I am then who I actually am. Let me explain:

If I change who I am I have to fight my mental image of myself. Let's look at my battles over the years with drinking soda. I often knew I should stop; it was bad for my teeth and bad for my weight. I would tell myself ,"Okay I am going to cut out soda from my diet,"and I would for a month or so and then I would be hitting up the soda fountain machine at work again. A little over a year ago when I decided to stop drinking soda yet again I did something different, I told myself that I was a person who did not drink soda. I altered my mental image of myself. Now when I want soda I don't hear a voice in my head that says, "Bad Quinn you should not do that," instead it just feels like that is not me.

So, by altering how I see myself, how I define myself, I can steer myself away from bad behaviors and on to good ones. This of course raises the question, how do we change our mental image of our selves? There are only two ways I know of, willpower and belief. We must believe that we are our own masters, and if that is true, then there is nothing about who we are we cannot change. Then we have to have the willpower to see ourselves the way we want to and to hold that vision until it replaces the old image of ourselves that we want to change.

Monday, December 27, 2010

No Resolutions

So here we are five days from the start of the New Year. Pressure is on to set New Year's resolutions, but should you? My feeling is no.

The problem with New Year's resolutions is this: culturally we are not expected to keep them.

As a society we pressure ourselves to work on being better in the New Year but then we also expect it only to last for a few months. This type of preloaded failure makes it hard for us to stick to resolutions. Personal change and growth are important but they must be entered into with confidence and seriousness, otherwise we will fail. Rather then make a New Year's resolution with all its cultural baggage, I instead suggest picking a significant date in your own life and using this as you personal New Year.

For me I set new overarching goals on the aniversery of the blog. It could be any milestone in your life, wedding aniversery, birthday, child's birthday. Whatever has meaning to you and will help inspire you to be a better person can work. If we are serious about growing and changing then we should not need the social baggage of New Year's resolutions to make it happen.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Consistency in Different Places

Let us begin here: A cat sits on a blanket. She licks her paw and rubs the side of her head just below her ear but she does not look quite comfortable. She turns and curls up as if ready to sleep but one eye stays open. She is watching me, not trusting me, unsure. Change has entered her world and she is trying to make the best of it.

She is like a lot of us this holiday season, finding herself in strange situations, in a house filled with more people than normal and, most importantly, not able to follow her normal patterns of behavior. For her it is just a matter of finding somewhere to be warm and cozy, but for us it is a matter of keeping our good habits alive. Fortunately there are things we can do to resist temptation this time of year.

Set ourselves up for consistency: When we are coming into a strange situation it is easy to be distracted from our goals and our good habits because we do not have the usual day to day cues that help us be good. Let us look, for example, at trying to eat healthy. It is easy to do when we stock our fridge with healthy food and drinks, but harder when we sit at someone else's table. However, if we know that desert will be a temptation we can bring something healthy that we like to share. This lets us participate in desert without guilt. When we know the situations that we will find ourselves in we can create strategies to deal with the situation.

Be vigilant: Willpower is good and we need it, but to exercise willpower we must be aware of our actions. In order to be aware of our actions we need the habit of watching what we are doing. Being able to be aware of what we are doing and what we are going to do allows us to correct our actions before we take them, before they become regrets.

Have a margin for indulgence: Indulgence can be fun, and people will push us to indulge. The problem with indulgence is that it feels like we are breaking our good habits, that we are falling back into bad behaviors. But if we have enough willpower and the ability to be moderate we can allow some indulgence. This is not a tool for those of us who once we start eating a package of cookies cannot stop, but for those who can eat three and walk away, this can work great. Creating a plan that says I can have a small piece of pie or I can stay up late or I can skip my exercise this morning is fine. We must also have a plan in place for getting back on track, a commitment to start exercising again on Monday morning for example or returning to a home stocked with healthy food.

What tools do you use to stay on track during the holiday season?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Lesson in Three Trees

Christmas is almost here and as usual people have drug trees into their homes and covered them with pretty lights. In choosing a tree they can choose to have a fake, plastic tree that gets stored in the attic after the holiday season ends. They could go out and choose a tree that is cut down from a farm or forest or they can keep a tree around all year growing in a pot to use when the holiday season comes around. These three trees can also represent three attitudes and habits related to personal growth.

The Plastic Tree

Ah, the old plastic tree it has its advantages, less work, easy storage and no dropped needles, but it has a downfall, it is fake. There is also the fake tree approach to personal growth. This usually comes when we do not want to change but have others pressuring us to change. We act "better" around these other people but when we are left to our own devices we easily fall back into our bad habits. This can look like personal growth from the outside but nothing changes on the inside.

The Dead Tree

Another option is to find a real tree, cut it down and bring it inside. We feed and water the tree throughout the holidays but as the season wears on it becomes dry and brittle, needles fall off and soon it is time to set it on the curb for the garbage man to pick up. These dead trees are the New Year's resolutions of the personal growth world. These are the things we start, find to be difficult to keep going and stop. Then a few months, years or decades later we decide we need to work on that again. Now we have to go back out in the cold and chop the tree down again, drag it back to the house and fight with it to stand up straight. In other words we have to do all the ground work of trying to change again: preparing our self mentally, devising a plan and putting that plan in to action.

The Living Tree

Ah, the living tree. Take a seedling or sapling and place it in a pot and bring it in every year. Sure it is more work than the others. You have to care for it year round, but it does not drop needles and it grows with you. This tree represents the persistent approach to personal growth. It takes care everyday to keep growing and keep the changes that you have made in your life on track, but it is worth the effort. The work is real and comes from the inside creating change rather than just dragging the appearance of change down from the attic. Also it does not damage our mental environment by leaving stumps of failure to tear down our confidence. And after a year or two of care and feeding, the little tree grows and becomes strong, able to stand on its own

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Relating to the Other

There is a social dilemma which arises every year as the nights grow longer and the cold begins to set in. A misstep with the wrong person can cause tension, lectures and hurt feelings. This problem becomes even worse when you work in customer service. Not only do you have to confront the situation more often than others but you may be forced to react to it differently then you believe is correct. For that matter if you are not in the majority within a social group you may also find yourself forced to react in a way other than you would like to.

What could this end of year social mind field be? It's wishing a happy holidays to people we meet.

You will notice that I have chosen to use the blandest, most neutral and impersonal version in the sentence above. I do not celebrate "the holidays." My family has a nice set of Christmas traditions that we celebrate, and I enjoy that.

Why am I even talking about this? What does it have to do with personal growth? Am I just stretching to find a Christmas topic?

The answer to the first question I will show you, to the second maybe.

The problem here is that we are given to believe that if we offer someone the wrong holiday greeting they may find it offensive. It can become socially awkward when we say "Merry Christmas" and they respond "I'm Jewish" or "I celebrate the solstice." At the core of this awkwardness is the fact that celebrating different holidays puts us in different boxes. There is the Christmas box, the Solstice box, the Hanukkah box, the Kwanzaa box - all these boxes make us "other" to one another.

But perhaps, just maybe, with a smile and some good will we can change the social perception of our holiday greeting from a charge to identity and transform it into a point of understanding. Instead of implying (as some people seem to believe) "I celebrate X holiday and you should too," perhaps we can learn to hear, "This is me, who are you?"

When we ask this simple question in the subtext of our interactions with others it can break down the walls that build up between us and them, me and yourself. The place where we are the same as others is where we connect, but the places where we are different are where we learn to tolerate, find beauty, and in the interaction between those differences, find truth.

When we learn to understand that the differences in others do not mean they are out to get us, impose there beliefs on us, or change us to be like them, then we can move closer to setting aside fear.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Getting it Done: Part 2 - Schedules

So with yesterday's definitions and elements in place it is time to turn to the heart of a time management system: scheduling.

For this you will need a calendar. I like to use Google Calendar on line as I tend to lose day planers and ignore wall calendars. With an online calendar that syncs with my phone I have my schedule in a package that is hard to lose and that will give me reminders by email and alarms.

The next step in scheduling is to block out your time as we talked about yesterday. What works best for me is to highlight blocks of time so when I come back to the calendar later I can see how I have assigned my self. In Google calendar I do this by creating two separate categories (which Google calls calendars) and set them to display with different color backgrounds. I name one of these calendars 'time blocking work' the other 'time blocking free.' I use them to highlight my calendar.

Now that I have budgeted my time I know that I will have free time and when that will be. This does not mean I need to fill every moment of the work part of my day with tasks and appointments. It is good to have some flexibility built into your schedule. Start with your anchor events; these will usually be appointments that you need to keep. Once these time and place constrained events are on the calendar, look at the other tasks you need to accomplish and begin to organize them with efficiency in mind. In effect this will create a localized to-do list for each trip you make.

Now it is time to look at water and rocks. Let us look at our day as a river. The banks of the river define the passage of time, the water and the rocks that lie between those banks are the activities that make our day. Rocks are our appointments, our anchor events. They are the fixed things that everything else must flow around. Everything else that we wish to accomplish in a day is the water. The point of this is that everything other then the rocks is flexible. If a crises emerges or a fire needs to be put out we can shift our tasks around and pay attention just to what is critical.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Getting it All Done - Part 1: Elements and Definitions

Well life is getting busy again, and that is a good thing. I have one month before school starts up again and in that time I need to find a good system for managing my time. So it is time to think about time management in detail.

What does time management accomplish?

Time management is not about getting all your work done, but it does help with that. Time management is not about filling every moment of the day with productive activity. Time management is about finding a balance between work and play while making sure the things that need to get done get done.

Time management brings together two other concepts: Tasks and appointments. While the definitions of these are for the most part obvious let us take a minute to be clear about what we are talking about.

Tasks: these are the things we want or need to accomplish.

Appointments: these are scheduled items that have a set time and/or place they need to be done.

The main purpose of time management is this: Balancing the completion of tasks with the keeping of appointments while still maintaining quality of life.

Elements of a time management system

Time blocking is the first element in creating a time management system. The basic idea is to divide your day into times to do certain types of work. For example, you could divide the day into work, personal and school. During the hours set aside for work that is all you do, things related to your job, for school and personal business. You can drill down as deep as you want with time blocking, setting aside time for specific work or school tasks and so on. This does not work for me. How I want to use time blocking is to simply set aside free time and work time. Work time will be for accomplishing anything non-recreational. Running errands, setting interviews, doing school work, going to class or work will all fall into this category. This way I can guaranty myself some time to fool around each day.

The next element of time management is activity grouping. The idea here is to organize what you are doing in such a way that tasks and appointments complement each other rather than conflict. An example of this is making sure that if you need to go grocery shopping and you are meeting with someone at the Starbucks next to Safeway you can combine the trips. Tasks grouping can also mean that if you have a number of phone calls to make during the day you can give yourself an hour to just make phone calls.


Prioritizing is another key element of any time management system, and it is so critical and complex it deserves its own subheading. We only have so much time to do the things that have to get done so we have to decide what is important, what is practical and most importantly what is efficient. We need to be able to maximize out most limited resource when we schedule and that is time. We need to put that time into the tasks that will have the greatest impact on our lives and achieving our goals.

But there is a great dilemma in prioritizing. Those things that are important need to get done, however they are not always the most practical tasks or the most efficient tasks. While it is hard to realistically change the importance of a task or appointment, we can work to make them more efficient and practical. This can be accomplished by what I like to call 'event anchoring'. This is a type of prioritization that focuses on picking an important task or appointment, then uses task grouping to arrange geographically or process related tasks around that anchor event.

Another element in prioritizing to be aware of are deadlines. These can often shift the importance of events causing them to be more critical then they actually are. Managing tasks with a deadline over the entire allotted time period is critical to creating a smooth work flow.

To be continued

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Plan and a Tangent

My Plan

So with the intent of finding work as a writer I have decided that I need to create an online portfolio of my work. I have decided to simply start a second blog that I will use to collect links to my work published online as well as a place to post my résumé. In addition I have started using as a personal landing page.

The page can serve as an online business card, an easy way for me to introduce myself and share contact information with others. It also allows me to link to this blog, as well as other websites I have written for.

The next step is to start querying publications with article and story ideas as well applying to work for online news services.

A Tangent

The day before yesterday I felt paralyzed, unable to act on looking for work. Yesterday I made my public statement of intent to find work. With this the paralysis unlocked and today I feel free to move forward, create a plan and actually start putting it into action. The power of a statement of intent for me is incredible, focusing, and gives me a path to channel my energy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A New Statement of Intent

I need to focus on money. Not just making it, but also my relationship to it. This is hard for me to think about. Money scares me. If there is one area in which I need to take back the battle field this is it. I can do it. I know I can. I can start making enough money to live on. I can spend it responsibly, and I can do it on my terms. Now I just need to figure out how.

The first thing is to create a mental image of myself as someone who makes money and spends it well.

The second is to put aside my fear of rejection, and really start selling myself as writer. I know I have the skills and I know it will take some time to find publications I fit in with. There will be rejection; there will be people who do not think I am a good fit for what they need. There will also be others who want me, and who think I will work well at their publication. None of this will happen if I do not apply and put myself out there.

This needs to be my focus in the next months.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Feeding Our Ambitions

Every day there are things we need to fuel our endeavors. We need sleep and we need food and without these we do not have the energy to accomplish what we need to do much less what we want to do. However, we need to be able to feed more than just our bodies, we need to feed our ambitions. When we feed our ambitions there is a fine line between an unproductive kind of daydreaming and the actual focusing of desire and mind on the task at hand.

The problem with ambition is that as we feed it, it puts on weight quickly. Small, good ideas grow quickly into huge, unattainable goals. The key is to maintain enough food, enough fuel to power the ambition, to give it the strength to motivate us while at the same time not letting it go crazy at the buffet table and grow too huge to manage.

One solid tool for feeding our ambitions are written goals that are measurable (we can clearly track our progress towards completion), and time sensitive (by giving ourselves a deadline we move from "some day" to a more immediate way of thinking.) The advantage of written goals is that they also have built in limits; they clearly define what we want and when we want it. This helps keep our minds from wandering, from making things bigger, better and more complex then is realistically achievable.

Another technique for feeding our ambition is to remember why we want to achieve something in the first place. A firm understanding of what we want, what desire we are feeding by ataining a goal, is a good way to keep our ambition strong but still in check.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Acting With Purpose

There is in most stories that feature a scary dark wood the scene where our hero gets lost, he walks in circles, is lulled to sleep by evil tress or falls down cliffs in the dark. Each of us in the course of our journey that is personal growth and development has the potential to get lost in the woods. Like the heroes of fairy tales and fantasy classics we can find ourselves walking in proverberial circles as we try to find our way in the thick, dark old wood of our bad habits.

The circles we walk in are the result of doing things just to be doing things rather than doing things with purpose. Let us take this blog as an example, for the last several weeks I have felt like I am saying the same thing over and over again. I have been writing because it is what I do, I write every weekday morning and share my thoughts on personal growth. However, if all I am doing is putting on the same show every day, what's the point? I write to change myself and hopefully to help others.

On Friday the going in circles became too much for me and I called out for assistance. I received several emails that let me know other people cared about the blog. It was bigger them me. If it is bigger them me and I am to keep growing I have to cover the basics from time to time - Know yourself, be honest with yourself, live in the now and do not quit. But I have to also have purpose, have direction and tell what I know with the honesty and intensity it deserves. In other words I must stop writing just to write but instead to share truths, to shine light on the truths of being me in a functional way that I come in contact with.

I have to write with purpose. I have to get out of the woods, find a high hill and get my bearings. The questions that we need to ask to verify that we are acting with purpose are these: Is this important? Why am I doing this? When we can answer these and the answers satisfy our values, our dreams, our commitments and our goals we are on the right course.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thoughts on the Comparative Value of Happiness

There is a topic that I have been thinking about a lot lately. The basic idea is this: my actions and my choices have the power to influence the happiness of others. This being true, when making a choice that will make others unhappy but which make me happy, what moral responsibility do I have to the other?

I do not believe the answer to the question is none. We do have a responsibility to think of more than just ourselves when we make choices, but what scale do we use to rate our own happiness against the happiness of others? The problem is even harder since we have no accurate system of measuring the happiness of others. We can listen to their reports and monitor their reactions, but like quantum physics, we are studying the results of an effect on the things we can see rather than on the thing we are interested in.

Setting aside this problem there are some things we can safely gauge. First we must gauge how responsible we are for an others happiness. In other words, have we made a commitment to this other person to help them be happy or, on the other hand, to keep them from being sad? To some extent this is part of having a friendship with some one: a responsibility to help them through emotionally hard times and help bring happy times into their lives. This said, while we want our friends to be happy, we also hope that they want us to be happy, a fact that does not balance the scales of responsibility, but makes it harder to read.

In addition to considering how committed we are to another's happiness we should take into consideration the expected duration of the emotional change. How long will our choice make us happy and the other unhappy? Will our choice bring us a moment of happiness while causing months of heartache for another?

The other problem with this topic is this, with what weight do you value your own happiness? If you are one who tends to undervalue yourself it is easy to always strive to make others happy at the expense of yourself, but if you tend to overvalue yourself then you will tend to be less concerned with others happiness; what you feel will be more important. The trick is finding the middle ground of compassion for others while having enough self worth to know the value of your own happiness.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A New Direction

I have run in to a problem. It seems to me that no matter what it is I am trying to write about here it boils down to the same message.

  1. Know your self
  2. Be true to who you are
  3. Do not quit

I need to find new aspects of personal growth to talk about and that is where you, my readers, come in. Send me on a journey, give me topics to look into, specific situations even. Tell me what you want me to explore and think about. I do not want this to become a one-on-one advice column so I will look into things broadly.

Thanks for the help

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

It has been my experience that we are capable of doing whatever is expected of us, whether this expectation comes from the inside or the outside, it does not matter. If we can do more when we are expected to do more, then we can do more when we need to do more, when no one is watching. It is the same reserve of energy and determination we draw on when we know someone is counting on us to get the job done, to accomplish the tasks others do not know about.

The key to tapping into these depths of strength is to value our own self opinion. If we give up and quit, we diminish our opinion of ourselves. On the other hand if we do pull through and find the energy to go on when things get rough we prove to ourselves that we are strong, we can succeed and that we are worthy of the trust placed in us. All of this together builds confidence and, as I have said before, confidence is the foundation for successful personal growth.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Look Carefully

As we work to grow and to change, as we set goals and look for milestones of accomplishment we need to be on guard for false millstones and false goal fulfillment. When we have worked hard for something and it appears to be before us, it is easy to rush to it with open arms and embrace it without close scrutiny. However, in so doing we might fail to see that the treasure we have battled so long to possess is a decoy.

As we draw close to our goals we need to closely examine the substance of our accomplishments. Is what we have found real or are we projecting our desires onto something that is not entirely there? It is easy to make believe that just because we are better at things then we used to be that we are good at them. Couple this with the strong desire to rest as we reach the summit of our achievement, and it is easy to falsely believe we have found what we are looking for.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Today as I sit at the keyboard I have a number of things I want to talk about, ideas I want to explore and concepts I want to share. However, each of them is half developed and I should call them notions rather than ideas. As I search this morning for a topic I have started to share one or two of these ideas and then deleted them, moving on to the next. These ideas are not ready to see the light of day.

This brings up the point that writing requires patience and so does personal growth. We need to be careful both in rushing into things and rushing out of things. Some of the work we do is long and arduous. Part way though we may reach a point where we have made good progress and it feels as if it is enough, that we are better, we are good. This good however, might just be a "good enough," enough to trick us into a false sense of acomplishemnt.

I have often thought that overcoming problems is like climbing a large difficult mountain. The climb is hard and arduous and it is easy to talk ourselves into stopping when in realty we have barely crested the mountain of where we need to be. We may be on the edge of the final assent, and in pulling ourselves up we may be catching the first glimpse of the view beyond our mountain. But we have yet to firmly plant our feet. If we rest now it will be ever so easy to tumble back into the chasm of our old ways.

In moments when our progress seems clear and the future is almost within sight we still need to keep going. At that point we should not find a place to rest and take in the view. We need to push on to stand in the light and not be satisfied with a pale reflection.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Intuition and Fear

In the battle of fear and intuition we too often let fear win. Fear can speak in a rational voice; it can tell us all the really good reasons we should not give in to our impulses. However, sometimes our rational mind and our worries about what will happen can stop us from finding what we are looking for.

The skill to learn is to trust your intuition and to be able to listen to it and follow it. The crazy thoughts - I should talk to that person, bet on red, turn left instead of right - can lead us to interesting place and new experiences.

However, we do still need to apply our usual tests to the intuition. Are these actions in line with our values and our commitments? Can we follow these impulses without regret or will they lead to heartache? And is the heartache necessary? Sometimes we cannot learn lessons without making mistakes, sometimes we have to explore the consequences to understand the outcomes. The insight of the intuition can come from the fall out as much as the dive in.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Maze of Fear

Last night I watched the movie, The Anatomy of Hate, A Dialog of Hope. This film looks at the social context for hate groups and the fear that motivates them. After viewing the film there was a question and answer session with the filmmaker, Mike Ramsdell. One thing he talked about was how we as social groups create walls of fear that separate us from other social groups and prevent us from seeing them as we see ourselves.

We have to walk this maze of fear to get through our day-to-day lives, to interact with those that are other then ourselves. But we also have to walk through the maze of fear to look inside, at things we hide from ourselves. To see into our own hearts we need to move around the walls and look at what hides inside.

Being fearless is not about not feeling the fear but about being able to move past it, through it or around it without letting it exert too much pressure on our actions or letting us act in violation of our values. It is when we let fear control us, consciously or unconsciously, that we tend to make decisions that take us from the path we choose to walk in life.

We must, therefore, be aware of our fear and recognize it for what it is. We must understand it and see if it is rational fear (as in fear of lions) or if it is irrational ( a fear of all cats large and small.)It is ok to react to the rational fears, the voices that help us avoid real pain, death and injury, things that can actually happen. But we must not let the irrational fear, the fear of the possibility of pain or death makes us act in ways that are not in line with who we wish to be.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Last month I mentioned that the changes I wanted to make in my life this year would focus on my relationship with money. Since my finances are something that has been a long running problem for me, this has been something I have been scared to look at, and so of course, I have been procrastinating.

Last night I got started on creating a budget tracking spread sheet based on the one recently reposted by You can find it here and the directions for using it are here. I modified their spread sheet a bit to account for my weekly pay schedule and to help track spending on food, since at the moment, this is one of the largest controllable expenses I have.

While the experience has not been pleasant the outcome is not as bad as I feared. Also with this first step to taming my financial demons I have begun to feel like I can do this, and, as I have mentioned before, confidence is a powerful force in helping us make the changes in our lives we want to make.

The next step for me is to make a habit of using the budget sheet. While this will not be easy at first, if I can write a blog regularly then I can enter my financial data regularly.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


The cultural obsession with happiness can contribute to unhappiness. We are programmed to believe that if we are not happy there is something wrong with us. What happens is that we begin to feel bad and then subconsciously we feel bad that we feel bad because feeling bad is wrong.

We need to understand that it is ok to be sad, it is ok to be angry and it is ok to be disappointed. We need to feel our emotions if we are to be happy. We need to give our "negative" emotions a chance to exist. If we sit on our sadness it festers, and rots at the happy moments.

Giving ourselves over to the moment and the emotions that live in the now is the best way to see ourselves through. If we do not we carry the baggage and the hurt with us for our entire lives.