What Matters Most

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Many people make resolutions, vowing to do things differently in the coming year.  Some people choose to live from “One Word”, letting that word give their lives direction and focus.  Either way, the intention is to create forward progress in our lives, and that’s a good thing!

Ultimately, the New Year is a perfect time to take inventory – of the past, present and future.  I was recently inspired by my friend Amy Volk to take a look at my life through a three-word question – “What Matters Most?”.  I was fooled by its simplicity, thinking it would be a breeze to catalog what matters most to me.

But this question requires that we dig deep to determine what REALLY matters most!  What I love about this question is that it distinguishes the landmarks that help keep us on track during our journey.  What matters most isn’t necessarily related to an end result or a big goal, instead it directly influences the steps we take in our day to day living.

We can choose to compartmentalize what matters to you most, and answer that question in relationship to your career, your family or your fitness.  However, with this being my first time tackling this exercise, I prefer to answer the question on a more general basis.  What matters most in my life, regardless of what role I’m playing.  So here goes…..

WHAT MATTERS MOST TO ME…..

Live an authentic life – I lived much of my younger life not liking who I was, and therefore trying to be something other than me.  ME is who I am!  I don’t want to run from the truth any longer, I want to embrace it and be AUTHENTIC, and in so doing, hopefully give others the freedom to do the same.

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Make time to be quiet – I’m discovering that I have a pattern of filling my life up with things to do, to a point of overwhelm.  Typically, there is never enough time to simply fulfill my commitments, let alone take time to be QUIET, reflect, and connect with the universe.  Making time to be quiet has become essential to my well being.

JOY – Be joy, do joy, have joy!  Having lived this past year with JOY as my one word – it has become an integral part of who I am, and I don’t ever want to live without it again!

Be present and live in the moment – I have few regrets over the course of my life.  I do believe everything happens for a reason and I’m grateful for all the life lessons I’ve experienced.  If I were to get a do-over, the biggest change I would make is to live life PRESENT!  I missed way too much of my life by focusing on the conversations I was having in my head, with myself, instead of fully engaging, participating and connecting with what I was experiencing or who I was relating to.  I’m learning that when I am 100% present in the moment, regardless of what I’m doing, my life feels fuller.

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Make a difference – It wasn’t until my recent past that I began to really distinguish my ability to make a difference.  Perhaps it started once I got out of my head and stopped having so many conversation with myself (LOL!).  But I can honestly say I have become addicted to the feeling of contributing to others and making a DIFFERENCE.

Be a student of life – I don’t necessarily have a picture or expectation of exactly what this looks like.  I just know I want to live the opposite of a stagnant, predictable life.  Trying new things, stepping outside my comfort zone, and being scared, all give me the opportunity to experience a bigger life and discover more about myself and the world we live in.

Cherish my relationships – As I filled my life up with things to do, to finish, to succeed in, to accomplish….it left me little to no room for my relationships.  When it’s all said and done, what I’ve accomplished doesn’t impact me nearly as much as who I am in relationship with!  Regardless if it’s a 3 minute interaction with the grocery store clerk, a 30 minute conversation with my Dad, a  2 hour lunch with a friend, or an evening out with the family – the quality of the interaction and connection far outweighs the quantity of time spent.

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Be grateful – There is nothing more powerful than putting life into perspective through gratitude.  Discovering the practice of daily gratitude has made the life I have, the life I live, perfect just the way it is!

LOVE – I can’t fully speak to this one yet.  I haven’t totally owned it, but all signs are pointing towards LOVE as my one word for 2014.  I know in my heart that LOVE matters most, and as this year unfolds and I embrace it, experience it, seek it out, share it, and speak it – I’m sure I’ll have plenty more to write about love!

Wow – what a gut check!  I’ve mastered some elements of what matters most to me (joy and gratitude for sure).  But I clearly have some work to do in other areas.  Regardless of my destination, I will keep the things that matter most with me, knowing they will be the landmarks that keep me on track for my journey!

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Ready for a gut check too?  What matters most to you?

with Joy & Gratitude,

 

Wise Words From a 17 Year Old

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“Social Media is ruining society!”

Those are not my words.  They are the exact words my 17 year old son recently said to me.

Startled by his comment, I asked “Really?  What makes you say that?”

With conviction, he replied  “Well, last weekend when we went out for brunch, instead of sitting down and eating, you sat down and took pictures of your food.”

Truth be told, I didn’t just take a picture of my breakfast, I took multiple photos from a variety of angles.  Then I reviewed them, one by one, in order to select the perfect shot.  This was followed by photo editing, adding a caption, and of course hash-tagging, before I could finally share a snapshot of my life to both Instagram and Facebook.  All while we sat around the table together!

Ok, so maybe he has a point?  But “ruining” is a very strong word.  Is social media really destroying society?  Or is it better said that social media has the capacity to negatively impact our society?

I respect and admire the position my teenager takes.  But much like the statement that guns don’t kill people, people kill people….I’d have to say social media isn’t ruining society, but rather, people are allowing social media to dominate their time and relationships.

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Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, Linkedin, Texting……

Each method of social media has value, if, and only if it’s used with boundaries and limitations.

Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities.  What’s not awesome about that, right?

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It’s a double edged sword. The negative side of social media is also the positive side!

Social media can save time, and yet it can suck time, if we allow it to.  Social media can build relationships with people and organizations we may never have come into contact with, and yet it can interfere with the relationships we have with people in our day to day lives, if we allow it to.

Be honest!  Have you sat down to pay a bill online or add an appointment to your google calendar, only to find yourself an hour later, seven levels deep in FaceBook, with no recollection of why you sat at your computer in the first place?

Or maybe you’ve been at a social gathering sitting with a group of friends, when you suddenly realize you have no idea what everyone is talking about, because you’ve been typing your own private conversation on your phone with someone halfway across the state, country or world…..instead of participating in the real conversation taking place in your presence.

I know I’ve been guilty!

It wasn’t long ago that I was just a voyeur on Facebook, trying to figure out how this whole social media thing worked.

It wasn’t long ago that I opted for my canon rebel digital camera instead of my iPhone camera.

It wasn’t long ago that I dialed a number to have a verbal conversation instead of texting a number to have a written conversation.

Unlike teenagers today, I’ve been on both sides of social media, and quite honestly, I think there are huge benefits to both!

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With social media I can be instantly connected with a friend, neighbor, family member, co-worker, fellow CrossFitter, or Silpada sister – anywhere in the world, at a moment’s notice.

I can acknowledge a milestone, shout out someone’s accomplishment, request a shoulder to lean on or share a laugh….absolutely any time of day,  from practically any place I find myself.

I can do business, create business or inspire business from behind my computer screen.

I can quench my curiosity, discover answers to my questions and share experience and knowledge.

I can inspire, motivate, encourage and support.

The avenues and opportunities that social media offer us are really quite remarkable.

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The problem is when we, the user, abuses it.  There is not one set definition or description for social media over use or abuse.  I can’t tell you what’s too much social media.  Only you can determine if your personal social media consumption is interfering with your time management and effectiveness or negatively impacting your relationships with the people in your day to day life.

The simple statement my teenager made was enough to stop me in my tracks and cause me to evaluate my social media habits.  I won’t stop partaking in the joys of social media, both for business and pleasure.  But thanks to the wise words from a 17 year old, I have already altered how often and how much I afford myself that guilty pleasure.

Everything in moderation!

P.S. I just love Kid President!  This is an AWESOME video sharing the positive side of social media!  I’m also testing technology in hopes that this actually makes it to my blog subscribers.  If it doesn’t – simply click here – and I’ll go back to the technology drawing board to try and fix this problem!

with Joy & Gratitude,

Writing a Letter to My Mom

Parenting Quotes and Sayings

One thing I am certain of is that we ALL have a mother!

After that simple fact, the stories vary greatly!  You might have a magnificent relationship with your mom – she may even be your best friend.  Maybe you have an average, acceptable relationship with your mom – but you know or wish it could be more.  Or perhaps you have NO relationship with her, based on a variety of possible circumstances.

My friend Amy Volk  recently blogged about the loss of her mother and challenged her readers to write a letter to their mother.  She gracefully granted permission to feel whatever emotions arose and shared that the exercise of writing this letter was intended for each of us as individuals – and not for that person we call ‘Mom’.

The history and details of my relationship with my mother are too long and complex for one blog post – but the end result is that we have been estranged for 16 years (with just minimal email contact).  Prior to that, although we weren’t estranged, it was far from a normal or healthy relationship.  My story doesn’t have a good beginning followed by a bad ending.  So the lack of relationship with my mother these past 16 years doesn’t occur as a loss to me – but rather a freedom!  And yet, she’s still my mom!

I did my share of self-reflection and spent years attempting to fix or change the reality of our relationship, until I finally  came to a place where I believed I was complete.  I could accept the lack of relationship with my mother, knowing that I would most definitely, absolutely, positively do things DIFFERENTLY with my children!

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Then I read Amy’s blog post ‘Letters to My Mom’  and the tears slowly began to swell in my eyes until one drop at a time they gently spilled over and trickled down my cheeks.  As I continued to let her words sink in I was blanketed in a flurry of emotions that quite frankly startled me.   Maybe I wasn’t as complete as I had previously believed I was.  In that moment, I decided I would not only personally take Amy up on her challenge, but I would pay her message forward and make sure I too challenged everyone I could to take the opportunity, regardless of the circumstances and their story, to write a letter to their mom.

I will share my letter with you in my next post.

If you accept my challenge, I would be honored if you shared your ‘Mom’ letter with me (confidentially or publicly – your choice).

with Joy & Gratitude,