Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Try Intentions instead of Resolutions

“In the new year, I’m gonna…”   Millions of people make New Year’s resolutions, putting themselves on challenge to either stop or start doing something.  Maybe it’s to lose weight, quit smoking, eat healthier, spend less money or spend more time on something or with someone.  Maybe it's all of these.

Millions of others don’t bother to make resolutions.  Why?  Because they always break them.  They don’t want to feel the guilt that comes with breaking promises to themselves or to appear weak to friends and family when they don’t follow through.

But intentions are different.  I can still hear the calm voice of my yoga instructor, Margaret Blanc, at the conclusion of our relaxation phase. “Now it’s time to create an intention for yourself; for this evening, for tomorrow, or for the week.”  In the silence that followed, each of us could create her personal intention and repeat it in her mind. It was a time when we were most open, relaxed, and receptive. 

I’d walk away with that intention in my head.  In those days, it was always the same: “I am building my own happy life.”  Living alone for the first time, I was responsible only for me and to me; some days it was tough going.  And in those inevitable moments when I’d reach a low point, the intention I’d created would pop into my head, flashing like a huge neon sign.  Almost instantly, I’d notice that I was standing a little taller, throwing my shoulders back, and smiling, moving on to my next task or thought. 

After awhile, I realized that I was fulfilling that intention. Then, it was time to summon another. 

They say, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”  But intentions coupled with mindfulness hold power. 
Each of us can reach inside and come up with an intention for ourselves so that we can lead happier, healthier lives. An intention becomes reality when we concentrate on it for our own personal growth and well-being, when we listen to it and let it guide us.

Focusing on one clear intention, constructing it as a positive statement in the present tense, as if you are doing it now, makes all the difference.

Follow this formula for creating intentions:
* Close your eyes and take a few moments to become fully relaxed. 
* Let your mind wander until it settles upon something that you want or need to do for yourself.
* Create your intention:  “I am _______ing ____________________________.
* See yourself doing it.
* Let your body feel the way you’ll feel when you are doing it.

What intention will you create for yourself -- for today, tomorrow, this week, or this year -- so that you can take a positive step for a successful and happy 2012? Just start with one.

May you create a happy and fulfilling 2012 for yourselves.

~ xoA ~

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Save Some Time for You

That time of the year is fast approaching.  We have way too many items on our “to do” lists and too little time.  Besides, it’s cold and gloomy outside, and the days are getting shorter. 

In order to get from Point A to Point B, we have to keep going.  There’s no way around it.  And, as we look forward to the holiday season, we bring in more and more “Point B’s” – places we have to get to, things we need to do.  Sometimes those crowd our usual habits and routines and eat up the time we’ve set aside for ourselves.

I remember a young friend from college days who dubbed her mother-in-law “Wonder Woman.”  It seems this lady was everywhere, doing everything -- and perfectly.  When my friend tried to emulate Mrs. S, she was always frazzled and felt like she was on the brink of disaster.  She had no down time. After her children were born, my friend realized she had to let that go of the idea of being Wonder Woman Jr. so she could dedicate time to take better care of herself.

A little quiet time
When additional stressors show up in our lives, we must carve out some precious time for ourselves and for the activities that relieve stress for us.  Maybe it’s time alone or a cup of tea with a friend.  Maybe it’s a walk in the park or a workout at the gym.  Whatever it is, for our own health and well-being, we must let nothing encroach on that time.  We must keep doing those things that buoy us up.

We might look to see how errands or other trips outside of home can be combined.  Plot our route before leaving the house, and take all of our coupons, lists, or paperwork with us.  This will save time, gasoline, and money and allow us to gather some “me time” during the day.

Delegating duties to other family members or allowing friends to help are good ways to free up some time.  When someone asks, “What can I bring?” or "How can I help?" be ready with an answer. Let them  stop at the cleaners or the grocery store, make a salad, or bring their favorite holiday side dish.  Most people really want to help if they knew what was needed.  We really don’t have to do it all.
How can you build in some time, just for you, during this busy holiday season?

~ xoA ~

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Room of Her Own

After 18 years of sharing, she finally has her own space. No more being pressed against the wall with zero wiggle room, trying to stay out of everyone’s way. 

She is Big Red, my candyapple red Gold Wing. She’s always been pinched up in that narrow space in front of the cars in our garage. Her front wheel fitting in at the end of the cabinets, but not too far in or her fairing would come to rest where the cabinet corners came together and rub her paint.

Maneuvering into position was a chore and a feat that required skill and patience. Move the cars out, drive in wide at just the correct angle. Then inch up and back, up and back aiming her into alignment without brushing against the wall or the items stored near the side door.

Difficulties came when she didn’t get into her allotted space just so. We had to negotiate around her like circus contortionists. And, surely, she must have feared having her trunk whacked!
Now she has a perfect home. The new bike shelter is reminiscent of silver pods I imagined as a kid contemplating outer space. She’s completely enclosed and snug in her Cycle Shell, which our friend Sylvia researched for me then came to help set up and get Big Red installed.

Syl screws down the sidestand plate
 It’s a straight shot from the gate into the Cycle Shell, which stands at the top of the RV pad in our back yard. All I need to do is to drive onto the pad, park, and pull the cover over the top and fasten it down. Quick and easy. 

I'm sure we’ll get out on the road more often come spring. That should make both Big Red and me pretty happy.
~ xoA ~