How are you treating life these days?

Barbardos- June 2008

Greetings,

How are you treating life these days? Yes, that’s right. Instead of saying, “How are you doing? Or How’s life? I started asking people, “How are you treating life?” Hmmm…now that’s different right? It makes you think about what YOU are doing in your life. A dog is a dog. A cat is a cat. As human beings we have the power of choice. We often forget that we have the ability to fully engage in life or to simply live our lives on auto pilot. To truly LIVE Life is a choice. Making specific and conscious choices is what I call, “Living by Design.”

1999, I wrote my book, Why Struggle? Life is too short to wear tight shoes as a mini compendium of ideas, thoughts, philosophies and tips for helping me manage life’s unpredictable changes and to help me learn to Live by Design. Around that same time I started dabbling with meditation and relaxation techniques but I didn’t quite dedicate myself to the practice.

Being a student of life and growth, I decided I would give meditation a try, why not? Sitting and being still was very challenging at first- now, I don’t start my day without at least 600 seconds (10 minutes) of silence or meditation. A few months ago I released my meditation cd, Be Still: Learn to Meditate in 10 Minutes a Day  and I have been truly honored by the positive responses.

Daily we brush our teeth, shower and prepare ourselves to go out into the world. Meditation is mental hygiene. It is one way to prepare our mind for our day. Meditation provides mental clarity. Consistently meditating as little as 3 minutes a day ensures more focus, greater clarity and less stress. At work or in our careers we train ourselves about things we don’t know. Why not train your mind to manage your thoughts and emotions more effectively? Why not use this amazing tool to create what you want?

Do you have 600 seconds a day that you can devote to yourself? Don’t you deserve 10 minutes a day to be with yourself? In less than 10 minutes a day you can start making changes in your life that will impact every choice you make with more awareness and clarity.I’m offering several specials on my website, www.dontstress.net, for my book and cd.

ONLINE Special Pricing – available at www.dontstress.net.

Be Still CD – $15.00 (regular price- $16.95)
Be Still CD Special – 3 CD’S for $45.00
Be Still MP3 – Download Available immediately for only $13.00
Why Struggle? Book – 1 for $9.95
Why Struggle? Book Special – 3 for $25.00
Don’t Stress Special – 1 book + 1 CD – $24.95

Take a 5 minute break…Listen to a sample meditation from Be Still:Learn to Meditate in 10 Minutes a Day
Please take five minutes for yourself and be still, get clear so you can choose well. You can listen to a five minute sample from the CD several ways:

1. Click this link to listen through streaming: http://www.byoaudio.com/play/WdX5zMwx
2. View relaxing images and listen at You Tube. (be sure to leave a comment)
3. Visit my website, www.dontstress.net and listen to samples.

Please share this email with your friends, family, colleagues or organizations.  If you are interested in mini-workshops, group sessions or book clubs, email me at barbara@dontstress.net.

Remember to take the time to be still, get clear and choose well. Create a the day YOU want to live.

Busy Vs Productive – What do you Think?

    

Take a moment to relax

Take a moment to relax

How are you feeling these days? This weekend I had a Barbara weekend.  Barbara weekends consist of doing only what I want to do.  I don’t commit to anything and allow my days to unfold moment by moment. I love these weekends. Sometimes I disconnect and sometimes I stay connected.  This weekend, I stayed connected via the cell phone but did nothing on the computer.

I recently posted a comment to a blog comment from Tish about Obama using Twitter to market and campaign. Between the cell phone, instant messages, text messages and Twitter and Facebook, how did our parents do with out them? We are quite a busy group of people aren’t we? Whew! Being busy means being engaged in action. Being productive means yielding results, benefits or profits. We are busy but are we really productive?

I am truly grateful for being born in the 60’s.  I grew up having dinner at real table with my family, writing a list to go grocery shopping, and being able to learn to think critically without having to call someone on the cell phone to discuss every thing that crosses my mind.  I think that having a perspective of living in a time when we didn’t have answering machines, cell phones, instant message and such allows me to disconnect when needed. By the way, when was the last time you disconnected from all the technology? I have discovered that disengaging and disconnecting often leads to more productivity because our minds have the opportunity to relax and enjoy simple things.

Technology is absolutely wonderful. I have accounts with Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, WordPress and several other social networking groups. Some of my best friends and colleagues are on these networks and have helped me recognize the importance of truly being “connected” on the web. I have met great people through all of these groups and value the relationships and the people I have made and continue to create.

This quote from Albert Einstein resonates with me, “We shall require a substantially
new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”  With all these new ways to communicate, I wonder, “Are we really connecting with these tools and being productive, or are we simply engaging in action? Click the comments below and let me know your thoughts or experiences.

Be Accountable: Do You have AP’s ™?

Have you ever needed to do something and lacked the motivation? I have struggled with this in the past and often in the present. I would start a project and in the middle of it I would find something more interesting to do and move on to it before I finished. My I (idea) to I (implementation) ratio was very low.  It was around 5:1. I needed help. I had to find a way to increase my I:I. I came up with the idea of having an AP™.

An AP™ is an accountability partner. The AP is who you report to about the status of your project, idea or task to be sure that you are held accountable.  Here’s my example: I needed to recreate my script for my meditation cd before I could record it in the studio. My AP for this project was Wendy Y. She is one of my regular AP’s so I called her and told her what I needed to do and by when. The role of the AP is simple and specific.

The AP needs to know two things; 1. What needs to be done and 2. When it needs to be done. When I started using an AP™ my ratio was much better, it was 2:1.

Why did I need an AP? I needed to be held accountable. I knew that I couldn’t depend on motivation and inspiration to get me through, I needed discipline and commitment.  Knowing I had to call Wendy Y on April 29th kept me focused and I was determined to call her and say, “Wendy Y, I finished my cd script early.”  And I did. I often complete things faster when I have an AP involved.Why does this strategy work? Often time we are more accountable to someone else than we are to themselves. The AP approach works very well for me and I encourage you to try it.

There are three easy steps, here’s what you do:
1.  Who – decide who will be your AP™.
2.  What – decide what you need to get done.
3.  When – tell your AP when you need to have your project/task completed- be realistic.

What happens if you don’t get your project/task done by the timeframe you desired? Let your AP know the new timeframe, if you are still interested in completed the project/task.If things have changed, you can always find another project/task. There is always something to be done.Your AP can be different people based on what you are trying to accomplish. If you are on a team with people, you may choose to pick someone involved on that team. An AP is a great way to develop and enhance discipline around specific projects and get things done more timely.

Let me your thoughts by clicking on the comments and leaving me your thoughts.

Is Multitasking Productive?

Do you believe that multitasking makes you more productive? I was thinking about this topic this morning as I walked my mother’s dog, Lacee while visiting in my hometown, Albany, GA.  Walking is a type of meditation that I enjoy practicing when I take the time. I usually walk strictly for exercise prior to a serious workout, so it was great to walk at a nice pace and enjoy nature.  Albany has beautiful trees, flowers and plants and the sounds of birds, crickets and nature always remind me of the joy of being alive and in the present moment.

Getting back on topic now. Multitasking provides the illusion of being more productive. Doing more than one thing at a time initially seems very productive until I really thought about what I was doing. Right now, I am typing this blog, listening to my mother and the tv is on in the background with the movie, Shopgirl playing. Oh, and I forgot, I just checked Google for thoughts on multitasking and found this blog, The Myth of Multitasking: How Doing it All Gets Nothing Done. Is that really productive?

Of course not, not really. However we convince ourselves that I can get some thing done or a few things done or maybe one thing done.One great sage, my mother, often says, “Focus, baby, don’t scatter your energy.” Great words from a wise woman.

Let me know your thoughts by clicking the comment button, I’d like to know what you have to say.

What are you reading, listening to or experiencing that is helping you grow?

Learn to Meditate in 10 Minutes a Day

Be Still: Learn to Meditate in 10 Minutes a Day

It’s been a busy time since I got back from Barbados. I’ve been updating my website and getting the final cover design approved and it’s now at the press.  You can listen to a few samples on my website or if you want have a few images you can listen and see images on You tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLGpFYWo7Is. My meditation cd is available at www.dontstress.net and also at www.learnoutloud.com (search on Be Still Meditation).  Thank you Leticia Owens of R’Tish Creations for the beautiful cover and Charlie Mystro of Y.U.C.A. Music group for the great hi-def audio recording.

I’ve been listening to a few audio programs in my LWD (Learn while driving) program.  I am almost done with Michael Beckwith’s Life Visioning – a phenomenal program for anyone who is interested in moving being mediocrity and living a life of excellence.  You can find out more about him at www.agapelive.com.
Michael says that “meditation is paying undistractable attention to the present moment. ” I wholeheartedly agree.

I also completed the audio program, The Seven Levels of Intimacy: The Art of Loving and the Joy of Being Loved by Matthew Kelly.  It was a wonderful program and the narration was absolutely flawlessly executed. 
Matthew says that our main purpose is to be the best version of ourselves.  Amen.

I remember reading somewhere that anything in nature that doesn’t grow dies. I believe that as humans we are here to grow and evolve. If you aren’t growing you are dying. Are you living on the surface of life or are you living with depth and feeling, tasting, and touching all the textures that come with the journey.

My question to you is… What are you reading, listening to or experiencing that is helping you grow?
Tell me in the comments and share this with your friends.