Living A Solution-Focused Life

My list of pet peeves starts with this throbbing thumb of an idea. Problem-focused thinking. I can’t stand it. It’s the fasted way to shut me down. I’ve realized there are a couple different kinds of people in the world – Problem-focused people and Solution-focused people. I want solution-focused people around me. I don’t want to hear all the reasons nothing will work. Some people like to toss up road block after road block to keep an issue churning to feel busy I think. I want to seek out the reasons why something can work. It’s not any more complicated than that. This applies to professional and personal lives as far as I’m concerned. It raises your frequency. It’s a more vibrant way to live. Solution-focused people are some of my favorite people in the history of...

Do You Care If People Judge You?

I used to. I had to get over it. Generally, I have. What’s left now are only moments of awareness. I take a deep breath, trust myself, and keep going. If I hadn’t overcome it, I’d have ended up a mental mess. My utter personal requirement to stay creative in my thinking, embrace my sense of adventure, and trust the process of life goes against the grain more than is convenient. My primary beacons: stay kind, assume best intent, create beauty that means something to me, explore, keep my word, be decent to people, trust my strength to overcome, and have compassion for myself when things don’t work how I hope. Staying true to myself meant I had to stop pretending (to myself as much as anyone else) I could meet random expectations of others making sense of their own existence by trying to fit me in their limited boxed up world views. It’s been liberating. I hope everyone seizes the...

#MeToo Thoughts

I answered this question on Quora recently and thought it was a good idea to share it here, too. Advocates of the #MeToo movement expect a single woman’s testimony about sexual maltreatment to be accepted at face value without corroboration? What are the pros and cons of this expectation? Here is what rolls around in my head on the topic: Just the idea that presenting women’s experiences under a branded name is a key to being taken seriously says A LOT. Why do we have to stand in a group and slap a logo on it to be heard? Our words, historically, haven’t been received as valid on their own way too often – one woman – one experience at a time. The word SYSTEMIC is key in the answer to your question. It’s a rare personal story that can drown out the noise of an engrained cultural habit. We have built lifetimes of stories on certain ideas we rely on for predictability...

A Few Life Lessons…So Far

Here are some important ones… 1- Don’t let anyone steal your joy. 2- Don’t let anyone reason you out of your wonder. 3- Don’t let anyone undermine the credibility of your playfulness. 4- Don’t let anyone organize you out of your creativity. 5- Start a band – any band. I’m entirely serious about this one. Music is good for the soul and building memories with friends/family with common goal makes life sweeter. Plus, you learn a lot in the process. 6- Get to know Amos Lee music. He can carry you through some bleak times… How did the learning change me? The experiences life has handed me have resulted in my becoming more fiercely and gently me. People have a couple different paths they can choose between as they mature. Some harden becoming more severe and sharp-edged with age. Some people soften becoming kinder and gentler. Each of us makes that choice for ourselves. A helpful...

So Damn Lucky

Ever sit in the peace and calm of your environment owning your contentment in full awareness you have so much you love in your life, so much possibility, proud of how you have emerged from the storms of life so far that you feel and know you are so damn lucky? I do. I’m an idealist. It’s how I’m built. I’m also highly rational. It keeps life interesting. It offers balance. My perspective is a radically optimistic one. But, I know what it is to lose sight of your joy, to be disillusioned by life, to be world weary. I know what it is to feel there is nothing. I don’t focus on being happy. It’s like trying to catch bubbles in the air.  Ninety-nine perscent of the time, they pop. Happiness is elusive, but becomes an awareness when there’s space for it. I work on all of the other pieces I value around the outside of happiness. My daily goal...

Lessons in Drums & Punishment

This might seem messed up to some people, but it was a punishment incredibly useful to me in the long run. I used to get punished with drum rolls. One of my brothers was an excellent drummer when I was growing up and he still is now. He was 14 when I was born. I started drumming on a trap set at age five and he was my teacher. I’d practice 30–60 minutes a day with him. By the time I was 9–10 years old, I was drumming for stage productions. When he was in college, he’d babysit me sometimes. If I didn’t follow his rules, specifically argue with my little sister (two years younger than me), he’d put me on the drum set and tell me to practice my drum rolls until they sounded decent as my punishment. I remember sitting on the drum throne for what felt like long periods of time in the music room next to our living room calling out to him, “Is that smooth enough yet, Mick?” “Does that sound...

Ever Have Trouble Accepting Something Growing Up?

For me, it was that time is a most precious commodity. As a kid, I fought time. I’d say I don’t want to practice keyboard and drums for a half hour each day! Do I have to practice my gymnastics for a whole hour every single day? How long until we get there? When can I go out and play? Do I have to go to bed right now? and on and on. Then a huge shift happened. When I was 14, my last living grandparent was ill. She was in her 80s and not well in the hospital. We visited often making long three hour treks each way to keep her company. It was a lot of time spent in a car and I was tired of it. Then one day we visited and she wasn’t talking as much. In fact, while we were there she lost her ability to speak. She looked especially weak, but we could tell she could see and hear us as we talked to her. That day, my sister and I said our good-byes, hugged and kissed her and told her we’d see...

Contentment How-To

One of the best realizations I’ve ever made is owning my contentment.  I’m content and it’s a peaceful awareness.  I savor it. Trying to capture contentment yourself? Maybe a few of my practices learned over time can help. 1- Slow down – Just stop. Take a deep breath. Give that anxiousness that can build up a chance to dissipate. Do it again and again till it sticks. Yeah, it feels weird for a while. 2- Make deliberate choices – When you know why you make decisions, there are fewer regrets to fuel discontent. It’s not about making perfect choices to get straight A’s on the report card of life. It’s about understanding yourself better. 3- Shed perfectionism – Strive for personal excellence, not perfectionism. You can be mellow on one topic and perfectionistic on another, so pay close attention. You might catch remnants you didn’t think much about...