Life Altering Wisdom (“If something is important, do it every day”) – Part 14

If you’ve not already checked out the previous entries to this series go here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11Part 12 and Part 13.

There’s a laundry list of stuff we do every day that is completely useless. Like television. Is it really enriching your life that much? Sometimes I think so. Other times I come to the realization that it’s an escape from my busy day. An hour before bed calms me down and shuts my overactive mind down.

Have you ever thought or said to someone “you know, that whole reading thing you do is such a waste of time.”

Probably not.

Reading, daily for enjoyment

 

There are two things I don’t think I do near enough of in life: sleep and read for enjoyment. I’ll get to the mega sleep topic later in this series. But along the lines of writing every day, improving your vocabulary, ability to communicate and making  you smarter in general this goes hand-in-hand with reading.

Now somehow I doubt reading People magazine or any other mind-smut really counts in what I’m talking about here. If you want that crap go try: www.wwtdd.com (not safe for work!)

Now, along the lines of my last blog, re: buying your intentions, last year one of my best purchases was the Kindle 3 (now called the Kindle Keyboard). Now there are about 5 viable ereaders on the market so we’re starting to see even the most avid of readers making the switch from paper to eink type technologies. Why? Why not? You can store 100+ books in one small space, it’s uber easy on the eyes and if you’re a little ADHD you can easily have a dozen books on the go at one time. And with most ereaders going between $75 and $200 it’s affordable to most.

But shame on me, it was one of those intentions I bought and just never got around to. I read a few books and that was it. I just got “busy” doing other stuff. Here’s the really scary part: I have upwards of 500 ebooks already in my library just begging for a read by yours truly. It damn right pisses me off every single time I cross that folder where they’re all sitting on the proverbial shelf collecting dust.

It’s knowledge my brain could use, hours of enjoyment abound and enlightenment one step at a time. And it’s all just waiting for me to do the easiest thing: turn the computer off, turn the tv off and go read for a half hour before bed.

Give it some thought, what are you wasting time on right now? Oh, yea, reading my blog. But when you’re done with that, what’s next? Looking for a good read? My top 3: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Hagakure: The Way of the Samurai, and The Angel Inside (or any of Chris Widener’s books; try Twelve Pillars too). I don’t care for fiction, but if I had to pick try this series: The Giver, Gathering Blue, & Messenger.

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Life Altering Wisdom (“If something is important, do it every day”) – Part 13

If you’ve not already checked out the previous entries to this series go here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, and Part 12.

Okay, it’s post-Christmas and I have a serious food hangover. Who knew chocolates and turkey doesn’t mix; two nights in a row none-the-less. Go figure. I was spoiled by friends and family this year with presents, fantastic meals and some super fun family time. I learned something I’d always sorta pondered anyway. We, every day:

Buy Your Intentions

We do the whole secret Santa thing for Christmas presents. It’s great. You hand in your wish list, take the wish list of whomever’s name you drew and come the big day it’s a lot of fun watching all the wrapping paper fly about.

I drew my gal’s brother’s name (let’s call him D) and on his wish list was the latest video game: Skyrim. It’s funny, a few weeks ago I read someone’s Facebook post about the game to the effect of “if you value a social life, don’t buy Skyrim.” At dinner the other night my brother and I got on the discussion of the new 80″ television on the market. 80 friggin inches!!! Who the hell has eyes that bad? I’m blind as a bat and still would never buy a television that big. Other friends got PVR’s for gifts. Some got clothes. Some bought skiing and snowboarding gear. Some got kitchen appliances.

 

Does what we buy say something about our intentions? Of course it does! How could it not.

The person who sets out on boxing day to scoop up a brand new 60″ television intends to sit on their ass and get lots of use out of it. The dude who went out and bought all new snowboard bindings, gear and boots plans to get on the sloops and carve out some serious powder. The couple that bought each other the wicked Travel Roller, plan to improve their health and athletic performance and find yet another way to take care of their bodies. I watched D play his new Skyrim game last night for two hours (without remotely realizing that much time had passed) and he’s got about 500 more hours worth he’ll be spending playing it. My bro hooked up a sweet Boxing Day deal of $24 for the latest Norton Antivirus software package for himself and me too. Guess it means him and I intend to spend more time on the internet.

What about everything else in life? What about that trip to the grocery store? Is what I put in my cart not a complete representation of how I intend to eat? So if it’s all crap, does that not mean I’m intending to eat crappy?

Maybe I should have made the trip down to Heritage Meats  (for the yummy ostrich steaks) and the farmer’s market for veggies instead? If I bought more gym clothes or nutritional supplements does that not mean I intend to workout more? What about buying a gym pass? Or personal training sessions? Or signing up for a 1/2 marathon in Spring? Or the Spartan Race coming up!?

Every dollar you spend says everything about what you intend to do, eat…become.

Spend it wisely!

Me, and my Christmas wish list? I scored this:

Damn right! I plan on setting a whole bunch of PR’s this coming year!

Life Altering Wisdom (“If something is important, do it every day”) – Part 12

If you’ve not already checked out the previous entries to this series go here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10 and Part 11

What’s not to love about the holiday season? While I’m definitely against endlessly going on with “Merry Christmas” daily since December 1st (you women are crazy), I am definitely down for good food, some down time, some family time and the cheer that just seems to come with this time of year.

Want to know what my favorite part of the holiday season is? The kitchen table.

And no, not just for the yummy food. I love sitting back each year listening to the conversations to be had. And it’s here I bring about the wisdom of listening:

Listening, Really Listening

I was always the shy kid growing up. My addition to the kitchen conversation (and my goal) was to make everyone laugh. If I did that once, I’ve succeeded. These days I’m forced to be the one leading the conversation, instructing people what to do most of the time in my job. That’s why I still love the holiday table. I just sit back and listen to everyone else’s conversations. No, I’m not grumpy or disinterested, quite the opposite in fact.

 You get to hear about where people are in their lives, what’s happened to them in the past  year, what they’re looking forward to in the New Year and other amusing stories. The only way to get to know someone is to listen to them talk about themselves and their lives. So I conclude my best addition in being more involved and tying the bonds stronger is to listen.

Now, obviously this concept of listening, daily goes far beyond this holiday season. For this, again, I consult the wisdom of the Hagakure:

“When you are listening to the stories of accomplished men and the like, you should listen with deep sincerity, even if it’s something you about which you already know. If in listening to the same thing ten or twenty times it happens that you come to an expected understanding, that moment will be very special. Within the tedious talk of old folks are their meritorious deeds.”

Perhaps more important is from the same book: The art of getting through to a person so they can listen and hear you:

“To give a person an opinion one must first judge well whether that person is of the disposition to receive it or not. One must become close with him and make sure that he continually trusts one’s word. Approaching subjects that are dear to him, seek the best way to speak and to be well understood. Judge the occasion, and determine whether it is better by letter or at the time of leave-taking. Praise his good points and use every device to encourage him, perhaps by talking about one’s own faults without touching on his, but so that they will occur to him. Have him receive this in the way that a man would drink water when his throat is dry, and it will be an opinion that will correct faults. This is extremely difficult. If a person’s fault is a habit of some years prior, by and large it won’t be remedied. I have had this experience myself. To be intimate with all one’s comrades, correcting each other’s faults, and being of one mind to be of use to the master is the great compassion of a retainer. By bringing shame to a person, how could one expect to make him a better man?”

There are a few people who come at me like this. I tend to keep them close in my life. The best friends are the ones that are straight with you, even about the hard topics, but know how best to put it. No one likes a brash person.

When I am speaking with someone who I care about such subjects I do my best to keep the above Hagakure selection in mind. That’s when I find people listen to me.

Teach To Learn

I firmly believe the single best way to learn is to teach. HUH? How does that make any sense? Well, think of it like this: someone out there knows more than I do, so I go to that guy or gal to learn from. In turn I teach it to someone who may know less on the subject than I do. It is by far the best way to make something stick. For when a person gives you the puzzled “what the hell did he just say?” look, you find interesting ways of explaining the same thing. Teaching is witnessing another person listen. In learning how people listen best you learn a great deal about a person and your own abilities.

One of my favorite songs: Water Pistol Man by Spearhead (Michael Franti is an epic lyricist) said this:

“…but my friend Billy told me that sometimes/ it takes a grown man a long time to learn/ just what it takes a child a night to learn/ and my son proved his words”

I look forward to that. I look forward to the dinner conversations. And I always look forward to my friends (and strangers) that can tell me things about me I may not have realized or known. Funny thing is that the wisdom may come at the most random of times. So I’m really listening, daily.

And sometimes when my people aren’t around, I turn to music such as this:

Another fantastic song about listening and conversation is this quite witty song by life-affirming lyricist Tina Dicohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJN-no5OMWQ

Low Level Aches, Pains and Dysfunction – Easy Fixes

Let me tell you about my first day as a freshly hired personal trainer:

First day: you know the day where the company you’ve been hired by walks you through their procedures, shows you how to bill, do the paperwork, and introduce you to the staff and your supervisors.

NOPE, not how it went AT All. Instead the awesome boss I had (I mean that, he was the coolest guy ever!) asked if I was up for taking my first client. “Hell yea!” I proclaimed. “Good, one problem, he doesn’t speak any English.”

But he assured me that he was a cool young dude and that he picks up on stuff really well. Okay, so I did it. And you know what? It was a blast! In fact, the following week I go to train his sister who had a knee injury/limitation and also couldn’t speak English (they were from Mexico on vacation). Try explaining something to a client with no words. If any of you have seen my YouTube videos you’ll note I’m very hand and face gesture expressive. Trust me, it works!

Let me get this straight, right off the bat. I have ZERO certification in rehabbing injuries. ZERO. The extent of my knowledge has been a few things: my own injuries and how I’ve gone about healing them, what drills the numerous physiotherapists and chiros I’ve seen have taught me about my own injuries and just plain common sense that if this hurts don’t do that but keep working at getting back to “normal” over time.

Here’s another thing I’ve had to learn the hard way: there are no perfectly healthy clients. I have maybe had two or three people tell me in the consult that they have no injuries or dysfunctions, but in each circumstance upon movement assessment there always comes to light something. “Oh yea, I rolled that ankle a half-dozen times when I played soccer a few years back.” Riiiiiight, so that’s why your ankle mobility sucks!

Point is that all good trainers at some point have to do “pre-habilitative”, “corrective”, or “rehabilitative” work on their clients. The trick is to know when it’s outside your scope of practice (meaning you and I have NO business diagnosing and prescribing an exercise for some injury), outside my pay grade (eg. for me, working with an elite level pro-athlete) or simply that you don’t feel 100% confident in what you’re doing. In these cases you refer out to the network of therapists you should have for this circumstance.

So where’s the line? That’s a tough one and I believe it comes down to what you’ve actually done and actually know, not what you think you know. And here’s what I do know: I’ve run across situations (say like in above example of rolled ankle = crappy ankle mobility) and run across an “easy fix” drill that seems to do some serious good for the client (or myself). That’s what I know and it’s causal. This situation plus this action = this positive result.

So without further ado, I introduce my series of videos talking about these quick fixes:

Here’s what I wrote as the YouTube Playlist description for this series. You’d be wise to listen to it:

“These are exercise drills I’ve run across over the years that have helped me and my clients overcome basic aches and pains or dysfunction. If you have a serious issue, don’t be a tough guy (or girl) about it, stop watching YouTube for answers and go see a physiotherapist! Any questions or issues you have and would like answered shoot me a message!”

Stiff Ankles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ALJfvZQG38

Tight And Weak Hip Flexors: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLBhvikSoKI

Shoulder Internal Rotation (“Angel/Scapula Winging”): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivz6vV4_0ss

Shoulder Protraction (Slouching): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhuRcdGxs3g

Lack of Shoulder Fluidity (“Stickiness”): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJsIspcTvGw

I’ll add more videos as I go along in this series but again, hear me when I say these are NOT FIXES TO SERIOUS ISSUES. These are just drills that can address less complicated and minor aches and pains (example: a rolled ankle).

If you have a minor situation you’d like me to tackle, shoot me a comment below.

And if you’ve not already subscribed to the YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/acathletictraining you should! And click the Follow button on the right side of this blog to get an email each time I put up a new entry!

Life Altering Wisdom (“If something is important, do it every day”) – Part 11

If you’ve not already checked out the previous entries to this series go here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6Part 7, Part 8, Part 9 and Part 10

Obviously, this is something near and dear to my heart (figuratively and literally!):

Exercise Daily

My job is exercise, period. On average I deadlift, push up, pull up and do countless “core” exercises frequently during my day, all while talking about how and why to, which those in the business know, is way harder than just doing the exercise. So maybe I should join the ranks of unfit personal trainers? Doesn’t make sense to you?

So why are there scores of labour workers, nurses, and any other job where someone is “active” using this stupid compensation of their job being enough exercise to not need to perform any other exercise.

Look, don’t get me twisted, last Wednesday I worked 6am-9pm (literally!) and saw 11 clients. I didn’t workout. But that day was not the norm for me, it’s actually a lot closer to 8-12hrs usually. And I was destroyed after being on my feet that long, demonstrating, talking, cleaning and outpouring energy. There wasn’t anything left for exercise so I didn’t; so I understand that you may have tough days, but the excuse you can’t fit in 30 minutes of exercise into your day is absurd.

Don’t worry though, you’ll have time to exercise when you’re dead, and if you keep skipping out you’ll be getting there a lot faster too!

What Type of Exercise

 Step 1: think 30 minutes a day. Step 2: what can you actually do? Step 3: can you motivate yourself to do it? If not you need a workout buddy or to hire a trainer. Step 4: Slowly but consistently increase intensity over time to a level you can fully recover from. For me personally, I can do insane workouts 3 times a week for 1.5-2 hours and the other 3-4 days it’s about 30 minutes of high intensity circuits like this or this. Any more than that and I don’t have the capacity to do my job, be a good other half, and get other things done that matter. Step 5: Repeat, Assess.

Repeat, Assess

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve built a take-away program for someone to follow and for about 3 weeks I see that person coming into the gym working it like a badass. And then they disappear.

I made the mistake many times earlier in my career where I would do a consult with a new client, hear what their goals and motivation levels were and proceed to create the program I felt would best suit them. I would take the client through it 1-2 times before they went on their own (to do at their own gym usually) and the client would love it. “It’s exactly as hard as I wanted to be pushed!”

So when I’d contact the client 3-4 weeks later to ensure everything is on track and see when they feel they could use a change (the boredom gradient each trainer must consider), too many times the answer was “well, ….. {insert any excuse you’d like here}…”

I had to learn to either dumb down my programming or make it slightly easier than what the person’s initial desires were. Something new trainers would save themselves a lot of frustration in considering as well.

So…coming back to the point…

Repeat your workouts as often as prescribed (or self committed to), but every week assess if your energy, mood, focus, and goals are the same. As variables change in your life, many a time it will throw you off track.

Now, most of the time the answer is “Buck up, stop being a wussy! Just get it done! Sacrifice for what you want in your life!!”

For the times that doesn’t fit the bill and your assessment tells you that you misjudged some factor previously unseen, change, adapt, grow, continue putting in work! It’s no secret that those that work the most consistent over time achieve the most. Those that work hard for short periods of time and then fall off regularly achieve little  over time. I know that story all too well, it was once my own.

Why You Should Exercise Each Day

Now, I was going to drop you about a dozen facts about health, exercise and how it’s all tied together but I ran across a video (gotta love YouTube and Facebook for stuff like this) that just does the job better than I could ever hope to. And it will resonate with a much greater audience than just my fitness savvy niche (show your grandmother the video). Everyone should watch this video!!!

So without further ado, take the 9 minutes to watch this (and if you’re smart you use your smartphone to do so while walking)!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUaInS6HIGo

“I Want To But…”

I get it. It’s my job to get you through this phase. Just trust me here: start anywhere (even a 30 minute walk each day). Want to feel instantly better follow along with this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5ez8uALRDM

Want more, just subscribe to my YouTube channel (or visit back often) for workout ideas, including free full programs you can do in your home with little or no equipment!! I put a couple up each month at least!

Go there now: www.youtube.com/acathletictraining

If that’s just not easy enough for you, shoot me a comment or question below and I’ll do my best to help you out!

Life Altering Wisdom (“If something is important, do it every day”) – Part 10

If you’ve not already checked out the previous entries to this series go here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6Part 7, Part 8 and Part 9

I’m not known for getting straight to the point. I’m not known for my brief emails. I’m not known for my hieroglyphic style text messages (praise the iPhone as I can essay the hell out of any conversation). I would apologize for wasting your time but you know what, I guarantee you when the time comes that I need to explain something important, communicate something effectively or really let you know how I feel (I can be life-altering blunt when appropriate)…I’m that guy.

And that’s where this post leads:

Writing is important every day!

Here’s the thing: Let’s just say I happen to be the smartest person in the world (I’m not but go with me), how would anyone know unless I could communicate whatever the subject was that I was supposedly genius with? See, speaking and writing are quite simply the process of thinking something, finding the words and well…speaking or writing it. So, if I were better at finding the words, then I would naturally be better at both tasks, no?

To me, personally, there is nothing more frustrating than being unable to communicate exactly what I have in mind in the moment. We’ve all been there, replaying a conversation or email after-the-fact wishing we would have said this instead of that. I’ll tell you that this exact circumstance is what drove me to teach myself how to write. Since a teen my chosen method was journals and poems. For some it’s books or novels. Even for some it could be those English classes you took in University. For some it’s the inverse of this: the easy to love bookworm. Have you ever spoken with a well-read person? They’re incredibly talented at finding those unique words that put POP in a conversation.

Grammar Police

I’ll admit, I’m a word cop sometimes. I’m all good with unintentional spelling mistakes, stuff happens. I’m sure there’s more than a few lurking in my blogs even though I proof read it and have others help me there too. Who cares. Learning to use the correct word however is important (to the appearance of not looking dumb or ill-educated; whoops that’s my inside voice). The person who keeps talking about how “there dad is so controlling and how when she moves out of there house it’s going to be so much better with there’s and everyone else’s world”. Is it just me that goes crazy over that level of vocabulary?

The cool thing is if you correct someone without making them feel dumb, they usually change their ways. And there are times when that’s actually important – like job resume’s for example.

It’s not about fancy words. I can’t stand those people who over use big words to sound smart. This isn’t a dissertation, it’s a conversation, chill out. Just use the right ones.

Texting and 1984’s Big Brother

Oh, the text message. I have far more text conversations than I’d care to admit. And while I’ll slip an “lol” “lmfao” “wtf” and such abbreviations in there every once in a while I REFUSE to adopt “Kk.” AHHHHH! I can’t handle it. Look, the O on the keyboard your iPhone, Crackberry or any other phone you use is so very close to the K. Why must you do this? I know more than a few who have reverted to text language so esoteric I’d swear they took it off the Egyptian pyramid walls. Would you please send me the magic decoder next time you decide to talk to me like that.

Guaranteed this kid gets the worst present from Santa imaginable:

It just reminds me of 1984 and how words were removed from the language to keep everyone ignorant. My generation’s kids and grandkids are simply going to grunt at each other to communicate. I hope I’m dead before that happens.

Practice Makes Better (never perfect)

Has anyone ever commented on your bad spelling, grammar or lack of communication skills? No, cool, keep reading and doing your thing. If you just put your head down in shame, look, it’s not gonna get any better unless you start somewhere. Use the proper “Ok” instead of “Kk” for one. Try talking to a friend about a single subject for longer than 10 minutes and having it become more interesting as you go on.

Has a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner ever said you stink at talking with them? Or worse…in the bedroom? How will you ever learn your significant other unless you can learn to ask the right questions? The deeper the subject, the greater the vocabulary required to pinpoint the issue or subject as things tend to get vague (or worse, dodgy) at some point.

Ever had to tell a friend he’s being an idiot? Ever had him become uber defensive immediately? Guess what – your fault! You didn’t know how to approach it properly via your words to create the result you originally sought.

Forget Reading and Writing

While some musicians can become great without ever having to learn the language of music (chords, for example), this doesn’t follow suit for the spoken language. It’s the equivalent of going on a trip to Japan for 3 months and before leaving you learn only to speak the language. Great, now you can ask someone what that sign says. There’s a major disconnect there.

Learning to find the right words is everything in communication! In my opinion, the only way to improve that skill is via writing.

Journals Are For Wussies

Fine. Cool. Whatever. Try this: every time you get into a time and energy worthy conversation via text, email, Facebook debate, or memo do your best to not cheat the language. Truly think about what you’re trying to say. Think about how the other person may interpret it. Think about the impression you are trying to leave that person(s) with. Because somewhere along the line you are being judged based on your ability to communicate. You might lose the respect of the recipient, you might lose the job, you might lose the girl (or guy),  you might lose everything based on not finding the right words for the moment.

I’m going to leave you with a quote that really sank this subject home for me, it is from a favorite book of mine: Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai which said:

“Moreover, according to what the priest Ryozan heard when he was in the Kamigata area, when one is writing a letter, he should think that the recipient will make it into a hanging scroll”

Life Altering Wisdom (“If something is important, do it every day”) – Part 9

If you’ve not already checked out the previous entries to this series go here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6,  Part 7 and Part 8

My apologies on the delay in continuing this series, that last blog post really took a TON of energy to put out and I’m very happy with the result. I’m thrilled so many have found it helpful and I thank all those that made the effort to share with your people! It just so happens the putting out of energy is exactly on track for this entry’s topic:

The Art of Giving

I’m incredibly disheartened by the epidemic of radio commercials I keep hearing that run along the lines of: “while you’re out shopping for everyone else, make sure you don’t forget numbero uno; buy yourself a treat too this holiday season!”

Really? Is this what Christmas and this holiday season has come down to?? Marketing is just getting more sleazy, and by extension, the brainwashing it counts on…leaves us (society) more sleazy.

Before I begin this rant of sorts, I’ve been up front about this series being one based on my opinions which tie into this idea that:

“If something is important, do it every day”

Give: Every Day

Anyone who knows me, knows that I take gifts, compliments and help like a hole in the head…I’m just not good at it. It ties into the topics of listening and receiving which I’ll be covering in this series soon. I’ve just always been a giver. It’s not to say that I’ve not received a tremendous amount in my life, as I have, but again, it’s not my focus.

“Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.” – George Sand

Here’s some thoughts for you, from me (a gift I hope):

To a stranger: The grandest gift you can give a stranger is quite simply a genuine smile. At one point, each person in your life was once a stranger. Look what became of that!

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” – Mother Teresa

To a spouse:  The share of burden. Help out with those daily tasks one must go through. If we are to build a life together am I not supposed to help you as you’ve helped me? Could I not give you that much every day?

Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.” – Sally Koch

To a sibling: The art of patience and the simple phrase, “I appreciate your presence in my life. It’s brought me great joy.”

“Every gift which is given, even though it be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection.” – Pindar

To a friend: The gift of the never tiring, mindful ear. There is a time and a place to stop a friend who’s spinning his/her wheels over the same subject endlessly…but how would you know it unless you spent enough time listening in the first place? Some of the greatest insights in my life have come from those quaint conversations about some of the most trivial life stuff between my buddies and I. I absorbed the frustration, the lessons to be learned. It became a part of me, just as they have.

Consider the hour-glass; there is nothing to be accomplished by rattling or shaking; you have to wait patiently until the sand, grain by grain, has run from one funnel into the other.” – John Christian Morgenstern

To co-workers and other acquaintances: If I can offer expertise, an opinion that I feel may help, or perhaps even something tangible, I’m happy to have done so. Even better are those times you forget it happened because it’s just second nature. Nothing is forgotten on some level.

It’s important to give without expecting anything in return, rather than keeping a tally of whom we’ve helped and who has helped us. Silence and service go hand in hand. Random acts of kindness, particularly those anonymously accomplished, reflect a healthy non-attachment to deed or outcome.” – Chelle Thompson

To family: Some of the greatest sources of both frustration and the intense sense of caring come out of the family system. I’m not sure we can control too much in either regard, nor should we on the receiving end; instead focus the energy on the giving end by lessening the frustration we cause and showing the caring and gratitude instead. This holiday season is not best for the iPhone 4Gs you’ll be receiving but instead, even if that’s what happens, that someone took the time, resources and care to attempt to make you happy. Thank them not for the item, but rather the action.

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” – Benjamin Franklin

I will admit, when I was in my early twenties and discovered the power and amount of return investment in giving I began to make it my way of being. But I kept tabs on it and when the “I gave this, and this, and this, and this too…why have I not received this and that…” became frustrating, I knew something was wrong with the equation: expectation and assumption.

I do what I can to forget the score. It’s when I best accomplish that, my best and most frequent attempts leave me with the greatest sense of joy.

To give and not expect anything in return; to give for no special time or season; to give, not for any particular recognition; to give, not for a substantial tax refund; to give for the sake of giving — often just between giver and receiver — has a life of its own — an elevated one.” – Glaceta Honeyghan

I shall leave you with this Japanese proverb:

“One kind word can warm three winter months.”