• Goals and Action

    The Year of the Earth Pig

    Happy Year of the Pig!

    The Year of the Pig is an auspicious time for almost everyone. The Pig is associated with wealth in China, and the year of the Pig is said to bring prosperity, success, and wealth.

    This year of the Pig, 2019, is associated with the element of Earth, which brings stability, opportunity, and growth to the year of the Pig.

    This is a good year to start or expand a business, as the element of earth brings resources to the abundance from the Pig to encourage success.

    Relationships of all sorts benefit from its influence and strengthen during the year of the Earth Pig. The Earth element provides grounding (of course), and the abundance of the Pig provides security.

    This time of plenty can lead to excess, which can impact health. This is a good year to pay closer attention to health issues in order to maintain good health and to prevent future health problems.

    This year offers peace and contentment, making this a good time to work on emotional health, too. The security and stability proffered by the Earth Pig gives a solid base to work on emotional blocks and hurts that cause pain and thwart progress.

    Finally, while the Earth Pig symbolizes solidity, practicality, and material success and security, all these influences create the ideal environment to explore spirituality in a largely risk-free situation. From a solid space of stability, beliefs can be questioned and answers can be sought without the sense of having lost one’s foundation.

    Happy year of the Earth Pig, and many wishes for much success, joy, contentment, and abundance.

  • Goals and Action

    Goals Vs. Tasks

    Goals create big changes; tasks keep things the same.

    We need to have a balance; we need both.

    The mindset of achieving goals at any cost creates chaos because those people and things you already have are neglected or damaged.

    The mindset of maintaining and avoiding change creates stagnation and leaves you nothing to replace those things that wear out or break, or the people who move out of our lives for their own reasons.

    A balance of creation and maintenance allows both change and preservation. Trees spend the spring madly creating new tissue, and they spend the rest of the year solidifying and integrating the tissue they created in the spring.

    A goal and a task are not the same thing. If you can just take the correct action and get the result you want, that is not a goal; it’s a task. And lots of us could use some support and encouragement to get our tasks done.

    Routine work like home maintenance, yard maintenance, car maintenance, parts of your job at work are tasks. No special techniques are needed, just the necessary tools and supplies, and enough time to do the work. And maybe a little motivation is in order, too, like a self-directed kick in the behind.

    A goal is a large change in ourselves or our lives. This could be a career change, a move, a relationship change (in any kind of relationship, not necessarily just in an intimate relationship), or anything that could be considered disruptive if it weren’t our choice to change.

    Goals require many steps to accomplish them, oftentimes specialized techniques or tools, and a huge amount of work. They do not maintain what we have but rather change what we have in a fundamental way. Goals often require more than one person working together to accomplish, and they impact both people and things. The hope is that the impact is positive for all concerned.

    So seek balance, and work on both your tasks and your goals.

  • Goals and Action

    Carpe Annum

    Carpe Annum

    Seize the year! The Chinese New Year, the Year of the Earth Pig, has begun, offering the promise of new possibilities, new opportunities, new chances to make changes.

    The new year is as good a time as any for a fresh start.

    Make your fresh start last all year by having specific goals along with specific plans to see them through.

    Know what you want, know who you want to be, know where you want to go, and know what you want your destination to be like.

    • Do you know what you want? I don’t mean a million dollars and a 90-foot yacht. What do you want to accomplish in the next 12 months? Toward which outcomes do you most want to work? Are they really your outcomes, or is someone else trying to push you to do or be something pleasing to them at your expense? Are you limiting your choices of outcomes because of limiting thinking? For example, if you are looking for a job, are you seeking one that offers the same low pay, the same lack of benefits, the same lack of advancement opportunities as the one you’re leaving? Have you trapped yourself in a salary expectation or a type of job? Sure, you probably can’t successfully get a job as a neurosurgeon if you haven’t got the degrees and experience, but you can probably step outside your comfort zone and move into an exciting and better-paid career if that’s an area you’d like to change.
    • Do you know who you want to be? Do you want to be a non-smoker? Do you want to be a highly paid executive? Do you want to be a professional speaker? Do you want to be a fit and healthy person? You could be any of those things if you chose to be them, and were willing to put the work in to achieve them. Do you want to be someone who watches television and talks around the water cooler at work about what other people get paid to do? Or would you rather do something interesting and talk around the water cooler about what you did instead of what you watched?
    • Do you know where you want to go? The answers to this may be geographical: “I’d like to work in California or buy a vacation home in Florida”; but they may also be metaphorical: “I’d like to be closer to my master’s degree”, or “I’d like to be closer to my ideal weight and BMI”. Do you want to have a better job, or to start a business, or to learn a new skill, or to be a better person in a specific area? Where exactly do you want to be? What is the route on the roadmap to get to where you want to be?
    • Do you know what your destination looks like? How would you know if you have arrived? Is your ultimate outcome for this year to be healthier, wealthier, happier, luckier, more spiritual, fitter, or more educated than you are today? How do you know when you are happier enough? How will you feel when you reach your destination? What will it look like to you? What will it sound like? Does it have a taste or a scent? Does it have surfaces with texture? Immerse yourself in the complete sensory experience of having successfully arrived at your destination.

    When you can answer all these questions, vividly, using all your senses, experiencing what achieving your goals feels like, then it’s time to plot out your road map to get there. Break the big goal into steps, so you can make measurable forward progress while still feeling like each step is completely doable. Now schedule each of these steps into your calendar every day until the day the goal is reached.

    That is how you seize the year. You start by identifying what you want to seize, then every day you seize the day by accomplishing its tasks, and you move a little closer to your goal, until you hold it in your hands.

    Remember, a goal without a target date is just a daydream.

  • Goals and Action

    The Relevant Vs. The New

    “The relevant versus the new is the fundamental battle of the current age.”*

    The newest bright shiny thing captures our attention, dangled before us like the proverbial carrot.

    We chase after the newest thing because it’s faster, thinner, prettier, more powerful, has more innovative features, and is altogether better than anything we’ve had before.

    But does the newness really make our lives better – not the thing itself, which may indeed, but rather, the quest to have the newest iteration, and to have it first?

    The search for newness leads to shallowness; not necessarily of character, though that too can develop, but rather, shallowness of thinking, of striving, of exchanging something of value for something new.

    Is the newest iPhone relevant to me if the last generation still meets my needs? This is not a Luddite argument; we put so much emphasis on new features, new bells and whistles, new innovations, without regard to relevancy.

    The question, as Dobelli points out, is whether we sacrifice relevance in our single-minded pursuit of newness, of speed, of efficiency – often merely a synonym for apathy.

    What is relevance, in this context? It is, simply, usefulness combined with suitability. In our chase after the newest thing, does the item help us make better decisions? make better connections? make us better persons? Those are big questions, but life is a big proposition – too big to be engrossed in minutiae.

    And the newest things, which will always be just out of our grasp, are almost always just pieces of minutia. They are mostly shiny, fast, expensive pieces of not much importance.

    Dobelli challenges us to look away from the carrot, and evaluate what makes our lives better, and us better. He challenges us to pursue relevancy.

    I think he may be right.

    *The Art of Thinking Clearly: Better Thinking, Better Decisions” by Rolf Dobelli, published by Sceptre, a division of Hodder & Stoughton, part of the Hachette UK group of publishers, London.

    #TheArtofThinkingClearly #relevancy
    #ButterflyPhoenix #StopChasingtheCarrot

  • Goals and Action

    The Spirit of Autumn

    autumn spirit spirituality
    The spirit of autumn is our spirituality.

    As summer fades into autumn, we enter a time often filled with introspection. For those of us over the age of 40, we begin to enter the autumn years of our lives. We start to wonder about the important things like ‘what do I really believe?’

    In the autumn season, this question amps up in our psyche. Due to the approach of the holiday season, warm fuzzies permeate our being. Fueled by holiday music and seasonal treats, we socialize more with others in our lives. In addition, we are more likely to attend planned events by the benevolent organizations of our communities.

    The autumn season brings back memories, for better or worse

    Our old friend, Nostalgia, returns from the deepest recesses of our minds, bearing gifts from the Ghost of Christmas Past. Fond and not-so-fond memories of family gatherings bubble to the surface.

    More people attend houses of worship during the holiday season than any other time of the year. They try to recapture something they had experienced as children.

    With the autumn season come the questions

    All of this brings forth the questions, ‘What do I really believe?’, ‘Why do I believe that?’, and ‘Is it true?’ Above all, what we really ask in the autumn years of our lives is ‘What will happen to me when this life is over?’

    Cultivating our spirituality is an everyday endeavor. People who practice some form of spirituality throughout their lives often live longer and are happier than those who don’t. Moreover, they recover from illness or medical procedures faster.

    Seek guidance

    If you find yourself with these questions formulating in your mind, seek out a spiritual director through your specific house of worship. Likewise, attend the services. Pray or meditate daily. Read inspirational works or devotions.

    In conclusion, our spirituality isn’t just a separate dimension of our being. Rather, it is a deepening foundation of our physical, social and personal dimensions.