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Where’s Your Focus: The Practice of Living a Joyful Life

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

I’m pretty good at keeping up with the housework, laundry and meal prep.  I work from home, for the most part, so taking a five-minute break to fold laundry or start the crockpot is easy and natural.  

For some reason, I started this week ‘behind.’  Why the quotes?  Because the truth is, there’s no such thing as behind when it comes to these tasks. There’s always more to do, and you’re never truly done.  In my mind, behind is simply the feeling of discomfort that occurs when things didn’t go according to my master plan.

Life happens.

Unplanned day trips in the jeep.  So fun!

Bowling with good friends. I broke my all-time score of 60!

Buying just a few (12) more sprouts for the garden.  Pure joy!

So, what was my issue again? I have to laugh at myself when I think about the feeling of discomfort.  I have memories that you can’t buy.  I have peace from stress-free days.  I have a great life.

Laundry?  Seriously?

I hope you are laughing at my discomfort as much as I am.  Go ahead, laugh!  It’s okay!

Life is not about laundry, it’s about experiences and joy.  It’s about being with the people you love and being in the moment.

Laundry is what happens in between the fun stuff. 

 
 

I needed to write this blog for myself Sunday night because when I woke up on Monday morning, I wasn’t thinking about the joy of life.  I was thinking about the mountain of laundry that comes from a household where people go to the gym.  A lot. And the pool.  And work outside in the garden.  And…like I said, a mountain of laundry.

Halfway through my grumpy morning, I brought the plane up to 30,000 feet and observed myself.  Here I was in a home I adore, with a life filled with joy and I was grouchy about laundry?  Cue the laughter again.  And my beautiful, silly, slightly jostled brain flashed me a picture of Snow White to make the comedy complete.  But let’s be honest, I’m no princess.  Maybe more like a dwarf.  Prior to that moment, Grumpy.  Then a few minutes of Dopey, finally back to my default, Happy.

The moral of this laundry fairy tale is perspective.  If we choose to view our life as a To Do List, filled with endless mundane tasks, we choose Grumpy.  If we can take a moment to step back from the emotion of the situation, whether that’s frustration, anger, sadness or overwhelm, we can choose our Dwarf persona and change the very nature of the experience.

It’s easy to say, and not as easy to do.  Like anything in life from cooking to CrossFit, yoga to mindfulness, relationship skills to running a business, it takes consistent practice.

How do we put this into practical form?  I’m so glad you asked!

FIVE WAYS TO CHANGE YOUR DWARF

  1. Once you know the pattern, do the prep work!  When I have a client who is trying to improve their nutrition, we begin with their most unhealthy meal or habit and focus on improving that.  The same is true for perspective.  Find a trigger (housework, Monday mornings, dealing with a certain person), and take some time to set yourself up for a better experience. It could be as simple as finding the right playlist for Monday morning or asking for some help to complete tasks at home.  It doesn’t need to be a big change, just one that can be done consistently.
  2. Be a court reporter and simply observe.  It’s so easy to judge ourselves when we don’t fulfill our own expectations.  It’s easy, but it’s not helpful.  Instead, become a neutral observer.  Come up to 30,000 ft, as my life coach, Char Fandey, taught me. If you can see what’s happening, Grumpy dwarf or Happy dwarf, you can make a gentle course correction.  
  3. Repeat, repeat, repeat.  You don’t go to yoga and master Warrior Two in one session.  It takes years, or a lifetime, to become a master.  Be patient and loving to yourself.
  4. Focus on your wins.  My dear friend and life coach, Beth Craig, taught me about wins years ago.  She always wanted to know what my wins were and celebrated me as though it was the best thing she had ever heard.  It created within me, a focus on the good stuff that has not only helped me heal and grow but defined me as a coach.  This mindset, of focusing on the good things, creates an energy and momentum that not only encourages, but also attracts more positive.  More Happy, less Grumpy.
  5. Create a verbal cue that will help you change your state.  Tony Robbins is my inspiration for this tip.  I love his phrase, ‘Change your state.’  It’s a powerful intention and even more powerful when used at the right moment.  My mom likes to use the word, ‘shift.’  I used to ask my kids, especially when there was whining after a fun day, ‘Where’s your focus?’  It had the ability, sometimes, to help them focus on joy and gratitude.  Other times, they were (rightly so) resistant.  I find myself just as resistant at times, trust me. It’s that toddler brain creeping in. When I feel it, I observe and let my tantrum die down and then I make the adult decision, most of the time. 

Hopefully, these tips can help you to be a bit more mindfully the next time a mountain of laundry appears at your house.  And now, to play some great music while I fold.

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