Monthly Archives: January 2012

Perception Deception

Perception seems like such a straight forward thing. We assume that what and how we perceive something, whether it is the weather, our boss, our relationships, a news story, or the size of our hips, is reality. Not so fast. We might physically see or experience the same thing as someone standing next to us, but we perceive it differently. That’s because perception involves taking what we see or feel and running it through our mental filters that are based upon our own past life experiences.

Too often we rely on our limited experiences to make judgments and decisions every day. We perceive situations, food, music, individuals and even whole countries by an often outdated, second or third hand experience.  If you’ve attended a high school class reunion or happened to run into someone who knew you as  a child, you know what I’m talking about. No matter what you have become, done or accomplished former classmates assume you to be as you were ten, twenty or thirty years ago. Our experiences have changed us but those who knew us before often hold onto their past view of who we were.  Is it any wonder we have discord and misunderstandings in the world?

Let go of preconceived notions and expand your day-to-day experiences, pull yourself out of the rut of ‘same old, same old’ and learn to fully appreciate the variety that exists in the world.  Where do you start? Small, of course and work up!

1. Retrain your palate.  Are you a regular who eats the same thing for lunch or breakfast? Is Wednesday always meatloaf and Friday pizza? Has it been years since you set foot in a new restaurant? Mix it up a bit and try that new Mexican place, give Brussel sprouts a chance, or grill salmon the next time instead of burgers. The worst is you won’t like it and you get to try something else the next time!

2. Culture won’t kill you  Do you remember a museum as some place an adult made you spend hours of time when you really wanted to be outside? Many museums today now have interactive exhibits; often feature local artists, and shows that change every few weeks. Check out what museums within a sixty mile radius have to offer and note the exhibits or special activities they have planned for the summer.

3. Ear for music I always loved stations that played music from my college years but shied away from current pop and country. Then my daughter got an iPod and as I downloaded tunes for her, guess what? I actually liked many of the songs! Now I find myself tuning into different stations in the car and learning lyrics to new songs. My taste of music has expanded and so can yours.

4. In your own backyard Often we plan elaborate trips and vacations to far away places but spend little time exploring what is within a few hundred miles of our home. I’m not saying give up your get-a-ways, but also take time, save money and energy by exploring the sites within your area. A quick, on-line search can reveal a year’s worth of day and weekend trips to satisfy your quest for adventure.

5. Set in your ways Do you always sit the same place at the dinner table, church, in the car, or the family room? We can become so comfortable in ‘our seat’ that we become irritated when someone dares to sit there! Let it go and try moving yourself around so you have a different view of the same old places. You might like it.

No excuses, branch out, stick your big toe in the water and dare to try something new. Be brave enough to open yourself up to new experiences, new points of view, and perhaps new connections.

“True life is lived when tiny changes occur.” Leo Tolstoy

 

 


To Do or Not To Do? That is the REAL Question!

It‘s  January, the start of a new year and the start of new lists. Or at least that’s what everyone says we should do. But we know from  experience that the well-intentioned lists of January often turn into the regrets of February, (OK, maybe March or April if you are really good.) Why does this happen? It happens because the sugar high from goodies ingested during the holidays impairs our judgment and we tend to get a bit too lofty in our goal setting. As reality sets in and we move into the implementation phase we back off, regroup, or just forget the list altogether. Not a good recipe for success is it?

I first noticed this phenomenon in a kick-boxing class that met three days a week at our local YMCA.  All year long there was plenty of room in the class, in fact there was space left over so you could kick and box with all your gusto and never hit another human being. I loved that! Then January rolled around. Instantly the class became crowded with people who apparently put ‘get in shape’ on their New Year’s Resolution list. I got elbowed, stepped on, punched and kicked from every direction. The exercise high of getting into ‘the zone’ was  replaced by a ‘get this over and get out of here’ attitude.  By mid-February it all changed; while we gained one or two class members the rest had either given up or decided to try another class.  And so it goes, each year we set unrealistic goals, which are often the same ones we had last year and the year before, get discouraged, and go back to our old habits.  Which makes me think the whole resolutions list is overrated. What if instead of resolving what to do in the year ahead we make a list of what we won’t do? Maybe it’s easier to get rid of a negative behavior than it is to add a positive one. So that’s what I have done. The difference is, my list should be adhered to for the rest of your life, not just 2012.

Darla’s Top Ten “Not To Do” List

1. Do not take your blessings for granted. Practice gratitude for little the stuff each day.

2. Do not be quick to judge, criticize or blame. Its 3 things but they go together to create a negative energy drain in our life and relationships.

3. Do not harbor negative thoughts. They are like poison and multiply fast!

4. Do not hold grudges. Let it go. Really.

5. Do not cause pain for yourself or others. There is already enough in the world. We don’t need to create more.

6. Do not try to do it all.  Asking for help is not failure.

7. Do not limit yourself.  Expand and think big for yourself and others.

8. Do not be afraid. Fear is not fatal and comfort zones do expand.

9. Do not neglect yourself. Nurturing yourself is not indulgence.

10. Do not worry.  It’s just a bad habit and keeps you from the reality of NOW.

I  know this doesn’t cover everything, but it’s a start.  What would be on your Top Ten “Not To Do” List?   Right now I’m going to make a copy of mine and post it in a prominent place. Happy 2012!


Meet Dexter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would like to introduce you to Dexter, our 2-year-old Yorkie who is wise beyond his years. I’ve learned a lot from Dexter and decided perhaps you too could benefit from his particular brand of wisdom. From time to time, I will share an insight, a view, a preference and an occasional cute picture from Dexter that will serve to inspire us all!

First a little history. I have several friends who have Yorkies and for a while our daughter had been hounding, I mean politely mentioning, how ‘cute they were and wouldn’t it be just great to have our own’? We heard it so much that we started to believe it ourselves and started a secret search to find one that would be the perfect match for our family. In our quest we realized there was a Yorkie breeder living in   our area and gave them a call. One of her dogs recently had two pups, a male and female, but they were both spoken for. She assured us that there would be others available and we prepared to wait. Lucky for us she called us back a few weeks later saying the family who had the male dog changed their mind and would we be interested? Of course we said yes and my husband and I went to check him out. He was his adorable self and on the spot decided he was meant for us. He had been named Dexter and become used to it so, despite the fact that the only other Dexter I’d ever heard of was a serial killer, we accepted him name and all!

As you can tell from the photo, he is an avid sun worshiper. His best friend is Sparkle, our 11-year-old saved from the pound terrier mix, and they both enjoy wrestling, napping and any brand of doggie treats! Dexter has become quite close to my husband, Paul, who swore he would never have a little dog in the house. It seems he has changed his mind!


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