Attitude Adjustment | A Whole New Frame of Mind

In the lyrics of Hank Williams, Jr., an attitude adjustment makes all the difference. I saw that clearly demonstrated today.

Just a few of my experiences and observations…

I Appreciate the Appliance Installers

This one was amazing.

We purchased some new appliances for a kitchen renovation. The week before Christmas, the appliances were delivered and left crated in the middle of the living room. We weren’t quite ready to put them in place so I was told that all I had to do was make a call and someone would come out and finish the job.

Not quite!

After about 20 phone calls and a couple of guys showing up with the opposite of what we’re appreciating today, a team of professionals showed up bright and early this morning to “get the job done.”

Wow!  What a “breath of fresh air.”

They knew exactly what they were doing and were efficient. That wasn’t the best part. They had awesome “can do” attitudes and were a pleasure to have in our home.

After almost two weeks of stressful calls and looking at huge boxes in the middle of the living room, we actually have a range to cook on again. And, I washed dishes in the new dishwasher.

It’s a dream come true!

I Appreciate My Sister’s Expertise

If you’ve read some of my other articles, you have recall that I am a CPA. My sister is a CPA too. She got started a few years later than I did. I focused on business/management consulting but she ended up specializing in tax consulting. I am thrilled to pass all of our accounting information along to her right after the end of the year to let her work her magic on it.

We have several new things to factor into the mix this year so I had a lengthy conversation with her this morning to strategize. What an amazing resource! It was another “breath of fresh air” to have a trusted advisor on the other end of the phone.

And, she loves what she does so she always has a great attitude when I’m “picking her brain.”

In case you haven’t figured it out, I love my sister and her expertise is “icing on the cake.”

I Appreciate My Husband’s Sister

As long as we’re talking about sisters, I have to “sing the praises” for my husband’s sister who is here helping with her father’s recovery.

She has been a delight in every way. She has such a great attitude. And, her background and experience has been a real comfort to us. We have NO experience with the level of care that is required under these circumstances. She has been able to fill in a lot of holes for us.

This morning, one of our Facebook friends recommended that we find some music to play in the ICU cube. I thought “That’s a great idea. I’ll see if they’re interested in doing something like that.”

I went downstairs to find my sister-in-law putting together a play list of music for her dad on her tablet computer. She and her mom had been working on it for quite awhile and were really having fun assembling it.

Wow! Another “breath of fresh air.” They headed off to the hospital with it for another day of vigilant anticipation. And, with great attitudes!

Hank Williams Jr.

Hank Williams Jr. in concert. cc by Andrea Klein

I think Hank was right. An attitude adjustment can make all the difference. You can find enjoyment in what you’re doing or see it as a burden. The good news is that even if we catch ourselves in the midst of “burden mindset” we can quickly make the shift. It is a choice.

Share an experience where you witnessed a great attitude. Was it “contagious?” I know it has been for me today.

Complete the sign-up form so you can receive updates or even participate in the Moments of Aware Appreciation Movement. Appreciation is a powerful tool that helps us create more of what we say we want in our lives. Give it a try and share your experiences.

Technology | It Just Works

Today I picked up my sister in law from the airport. She flew in from Maui to see her dad in the hospital and help with his care. He is still in the hospital (in intensive care) from the “steam room incident” of a couple of days ago.

As I put some thought into what I appreciate today, I realized that state of the art technology supports just about everything we do. You should see all the machines that are constantly monitoring my father in law’s condition and care.

So, here are just a few of the ways that technology impacted my life today.

I Appreciate Airplanes

This is a big one for me. When I sold my accounting firm and had a bit more “time on my hands,”
I got my pilot’s license. It was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. Taking off isn’t too difficult. Landing is a totally different story.

Airplanes are Amazing

I picked up my sister in law at the airport today. She flew all the way from Maui!

Today, our family was reunited within a matter of hours when the jumbo jet (actually several jets) whisked my husband’s sister from Maui to the east coast of the United States. And, the pilots of those big planes get a lot of help landing them from the on-board technology.

Airplanes are totally amazing!

I Appreciate My iPad

When I picked her up at the airport, we realized that we needed a few supplies. I opened my iPad and searched for what we needed. Within in a few moments we had addresses and just about any other information that might have been helpful.

My iPad is connected to the internet with 3G wireless. It works pretty much anywhere. It has become a device that we really depend on.

iPads are totally amazing!

I Appreciate the Navigation in My Car

Navigation makes my life so much easier. Seriously!

In 2005, I bought a new car that came with a navigation system. At the time, I thought it was just a toy that I would rarely use. Boy was I wrong.

It did take me a while to incorporate it into my driving ritual but now I wouldn’t be without it. Even if I know where I’m going, I turn it on. It is comforting to have the reminder. “Your exit is on the right in 2 miles.”

Navigation is totally amazing!

Simply put…technology permeates our lives. I am writing this on a computer using a program that someone spent many hours perfecting. Just about everything we do relies on advanced technological systems for support.

What is your favorite technological device? Which technology do you find yourself using regularly throughout your day? Is there a technology that you noticed after reading this that you are finding new or renewed appreciation for?

Please share below and take a moment to complete the sign-up form so you can receive updates or even participate in the Moments of Aware Appreciation Movement.

Appreciation is a powerful tool that helps us create more of what we say we want in our lives. Give it a try and share your experiences.

Memories | Human Building Blocks

The experience in the hospital with my father-in-law recently brought back a lot of memories from 15 years ago with my mom and her treatment for cancer. She relapsed several years ago and has now been gone for over two years but it could have been last month for all I knew.

Memories are very powerful. They are a uniquely human experience. Without our memories, life would have very little context. So, whether the memories are good or bad they have value.

I’ll share a few memories that were turning points in my life.

I Remember My Tap Dancing Recital

When I was quite young (7 or 8 I imagine), I was taking tap dancing lessons. I can still move through the “shuffle ball change” in my mind. We had a recital where family and friends came to watch us perform. I was in the spotlight and loved it.

The year before, I was Little Red Riding Hood in my Kindergarten play. My memories of that experience are not as vivid but I obviously loved performing.

That would soon change but it makes me feel good to remember my love of performing.

I Remember My Second Grade Teacher

Soon after the tap dancing recital moment, my mom and dad who had been separated decided to get back together. For most kids, I’m sure this would have been a dream come true. I knew that was not likely to be the case.

Dad had decided that we needed a fresh start and moved us to Colorado from Texas. Colorado is beautiful but it is light years away from Texas in many ways. Not necessarily good or bad…just different.

I had quite a Texas twang that was not appreciated in Colorado. Being the little over-achiever, imagine my horror when the teacher threatened to fail me unless I pronounced the words properly.

I got busy!

The teacher actually recorded me reading because I could not understand what I was doing wrong. Geez! That’s the way everyone says it where I’m from. She played the recording in front of the class.

So much for my budding interest in performing. It was quite traumatic.

I can assure you that the accent is gone to this day. And, I have found a way to perform that works for me. Today, it’s mostly public speaking.

It IS nice to be void of the twang. I’m just not sure the means justified the end.

I Remember the Community in Brazil

Memories

Memories are our human building blocks.

Fast forward about 30 years. I spent close to a month living in a community just outside of Rio de Janeiro in 1997.

I shared many stories from this experience in my book, “What Would the Sage Do Now?” The highlight of the trip (and there were many) was one evening ceremony where the entire community had assembled.

As the evening was winding down, I sat quietly taking in the surroundings.

Most people there spoke only Portuguese so I could not communicate easily with them. The community infrastructure was quite challenging. For example, I climbed 63 steps every couple of days to take a warm shower. The water was warm only if there was sun.

So, when I found myself sitting there with love pouring from my heart and the distinct feeling that there was nowhere else I would rather be, it was a defining moment in my life. I knew I would never be the same.

Within several months of returning from the trip, I sold my business and made wholesale changes in my life. It’s been a pretty bumpy ride but I know it was the right decision.

Whether a memory is good or bad, it’s a building block for who we are today. We choose how we use it.

Do you have a special memory that was a defining moment in your life? Please share it.

And, take a moment to complete the sign-up form so you can receive updates or even participate in the Moments of Aware Appreciation Movement.

Emergency | Most Surreal Birthday

I’m a bit late with this post. It was my birthday. So, I do have an excuse.

But, sadly, no…I was not celebrating. I spent the majority of the day and evening at the hospital in the midst of a medical emergency.

You see, I love the steam room. Not the sauna…it’s the steam I love. And, my father-in-law is equally enamored with it. The fitness center he frequents in Florida closed their steam room several months ago and he has really missed it.

So, when I was heading to the spa for a steam myself yesterday he was excited to enjoy what we affectionately refer to as “the executive workout.” His son (my husband) was playing tennis with his mother. Everyone was enjoying themselves.

Something went terribly wrong though. We found him a while later unconscious in the steam room. We’re not sure how long he had been in there but his body temperature was dangerously high. He had a heat stroke and is yet to recover consciousness. Only time will tell whether he will recover.

Even in the midst of tragedy there is lots to appreciate. Here goes!

I Appreciate Emergency Medicine

Emergency

This birthday will not be forgotten.

We hear about how people just “rise to the occasion” in an emergency. In this case, that was not enough. If you didn’t understand heat stroke and what needs to happen quickly, you are wasting precious moments that will ultimately alter the outcome.

The emergency medical personnel…from the paramedics, to the emergency room and now the intensive care unit…know just what to do and are keenly aware of what is happening in the body’s attempt to right itself. I am in awe of their expertise and dedication.

I Appreciate Online Information

In this case, medical information. While the medical staff was very good about updating us on the critical nature of his condition, it would be unrealistic to expect them to stop dealing with their emergencies and educate us on heat stroke.

We quickly turned to our smart phones and tablet for access to information to better understand what was going on and, more importantly, what to expect. I am in awe of the vast amount of really good information that is available to answer just about any question.

I Appreciate the Steam Room

It isn’t the steam room’s fault that this happened. Steam has been used therapeutically for eons. We love the steam room for good reason.

I do have a healthier respect for it now and will be much more likely not to push the limits when I start to overheat. Just like many other therapies we incorporate into our healing protocol, used wisely they are very helpful. Taken to the extreme, they can be deadly.

More is definitely not better. I am in awe of what the steam room can do.

What do you think? Most surreal birthday? Please share your most memorable birthday.

And, take a moment to complete the sign-up form so you can receive updates or even participate in the Moments of Aware Appreciation Movement.

Flaws | They Don’t Need to be Fatal

Today I am noticing and appreciating flaws. Actually, I’m noticing how I focus on the flaw(s) which are typically 10% or less of the experience. Something might be 90+% perfect but I notice the 10%. What’s that about?

Design Flaw

Some might think this artistic expression is a design flaw.

So, I choose to see the perfection in it. The 10% or so that is the “beauty mark” is what helps us appreciate even more the 90%.

Consider these examples from my recent experiences.

I Appreciate the New Refrigerator

We finally had our new refrigerator uncrated and moved into place today. It has a “ding” in the door and will be replaced.

Still, I found myself appreciating how nice it is. It has plenty of room. The interior design is much improved. And, it’s quite beautiful…even with its flaw in the door.

I choose to focus on the new refrigerator’s beauty rather than its’ flaw.

I Appreciate the New Tile

If you think the ding in the refrigerator door is a flaw, you should see the new floor tile and backsplash. Again, 90% gorgeous but there are a number of places where the grout lines are way too big or too small.

Since it’s new, it’s “under the microscope.” Every flaw stands out.

I know that once all the furniture and appliances are in place it will be difficult to see the flaws I know are there. Will I focus on the flaws or the overall new and improved look?

I choose to focus on the new tile’s beauty rather than its’ flaws.

I Appreciate Quiet

I came home tonight and needed some quiet time to work. I retreated to the bedroom where I could be alone.

Initially, I noticed how quiet it was. The contrast from the days’ activities and the restaurant we just returned from was intense.

From the quiet sounds began to emerge.

The sound of the distant television. The sound of the heater. Even the sound of the noise in my head broke the silence.

Would I focus on the disturbances or the more pervasive quiet? I recall a familiar saying. If it is to be, it’s up to me.

I choose to focus on the quiet rather than the flaws of the noises.

It’s pretty easy to focus on what is NOT what we say we want. By consciously shifting our attention and appreciation to what IS good, we find more and more good.

Yes, there is a ding in the new refrigerator door. The grout lines are not perfect in the new tile. And, it’s not totally quiet – ever.

There is so much left to appreciate. It would be a shame to miss the beauty that is right in front of us…just waiting to be noticed.

If you’d like to receive updates or even participate in the Moments of Aware Appreciation Movement, make sure you complete the sign-up form.

What beauty have you noticed beyond the flaws? Can you share an example where you shifted your focus to appreciate the good?

Contrast and Compare | Must You Know Dark to Appreciate Light?

It’s Christmas Day. I have been enjoying some time with family but it’s been an odd holiday season. In the midst of renovations, I did not even decorate a tree this year. Decorations definitely help to create a festive atmosphere.

We realized a bit ago that we had not even opened our gifts today. We were not in a rush this morning and got busy working this afternoon. When I mentioned that we had forgotten the gift exchange my husband responded, “I’m tired. We’ll do it tomorrow.” Now, that is a unique Christmas experience.

I have definitely had more “traditional” Christmases. Somehow I know that this Christmas will be one to remember…even if it wasn’t what we typically expect from the holiday.

So, today I am appreciating the contrast.

Contrast and Compare

Eastern philosophy uses the yin/yang symbol for contrasting experiences.

In Eastern mysticism, the belief system supports the idea that you must know dark to know light. In other words, if you had experienced only light you would have no concept of what it meant to be “in the dark.”

Here’s a few of my observations where the contrast is apparent and an opportunity for me to find the aspects to appreciate.

I Appreciate Chaos

If I had not been living in the chaos of a renovation project over the past few weeks, I would not have the opportunity to enjoy the process of re-establishing order. Orderliness is my comfort zone. When things are disorderly or chaotic, I feel unbalanced.

Chaos has caused me to appreciate how my immediate environment affects me.

I Appreciate Dirty

Renovation creates dust and dirt. No two ways about it.

Along with orderliness, I really enjoy living in a clean environment. So, the last few weeks have been pretty challenging. Clean it up this morning and by the afternoon it’s a mess again.

But, what an amazing transformation! When things are REALLY dirty, cleaning is an obvious and extreme improvement.

Dust, dirt and debris has caused me to appreciate a clean environment.

I Appreciate Company

This one might seem backwards to most. Let me explain.

I enjoy being alone. Given the opportunity to go to a party with a bunch of people I barely know or spend time with me, myself and I, I will choose the latter every time. No contest.

So, my contrast is being around company (family and friends).

I have really enjoyed NOT being alone the last 24 hours. And, I am recognizing how much I enjoy being around other people I care about AND how much I enjoy spending time alone.

Company causes me to appreciate human interaction…and the lack of it.

When we contrast and compare, we can’t help but lean towards our preferences. I would challenge you to notice your leanings and explore the contrasting experience. You might really learn something about yourself.

If you’d like to receive updates or even participate in the Moments of Aware Appreciation Movement, make sure you complete the sign-up form.

Has this caused you to notice some experiences where you compare and contrast? What would you like to share?

The Comfort Zone | It’s a Good Thing To Enjoy Some Creature Comforts

I’m regularly pushing myself and those I work with out of our comfort zone. You know the place. You don’t have to think too much because you know what to expect. Even if it’s not so great.

So, you might find it curious that I would be embracing the comfort zone today. Truth is…we can’t always be pushing our limits. We must fall back and reflect. In order to develop our intuitive guidance, moments of quiet reflection are critical. And, it’s much easier to create quiet when you’re comfortable.

Enjoy your comfort zone knowing that it’s there for you when you need it. Here’s a few examples of the comforts I appreciate today.

I Appreciate Space Heaters

I have a really great Honeywell space heater in my “quiet room” but it is 500 miles away from where I am now. I was really missing it since the one I’ve been using was a distant second in functionality.

After some research online, it didn’t look like I would be able to find the same space heater so I could purchase a second one and would have to give up some features I really like and use. Pleasant surprise. The local Target had my beloved space heater and I am enjoying being the perfect comfortable temperature as I write this.

Space heaters are great because they allow me to make the small area I am occupying as warm as I want it to be without cranking up the heat in the entire house.

Space heaters keep me warm and comfortable. That’s a good thing!

I Appreciate Down Pillows

Comforable Down Pillows

There’s nothing like the comfort of a great down pillow.

There’s nothing quite like a really good down pillow to lay my head on at night. I know what you’re thinking. Is it hypoallergenic? Fortunately, you can find a really good quality down pillow now that will also keep your allergies in check.

I am definitely a pillow person. I use them for sleeping, supporting, decorating…and probably several other ways I’m not recognizing right now. They help me create the comfort I crave.

A foam pillow just doesn’t stand up to the versatility of down. Yes, if you want the pillow to just sit there and look pretty, foam will hold its form better. But, if you want to actually use it to create comfort, down is the ticket!

It will mold to your current position and when you’re done a little fluffing makes it ready for the next comfort experience.

Down pillows caress me with comfort. That’s a good thing!

I Appreciate Chicken and Rice Soup

You may recall that I have been feeling a bit “under the weather” the last few days. So, chicken soup has been on my mind more than usual. Even when I’m not ill, I love a hearty bowl of chicken and rice soup.

When I was a kid, I loved Campbell’s Chicken and Rice Soup. My tastes have “graduated” and I don’t eat much from a can anymore but I still crave the soup. It’s comfort food.

Few restaurants make chicken and rice soup. When I am fortunate enough to find it, I have to try it. Panera Bread’s is pretty good. I’m still trying to memorize the days they serve it. It’s definitely not Friday!

When I’m feeling really ambitious in the kitchen (rarely and definitely not now), I make Turkey and Rice soup from scratch. We actually call it Stewp because it’s pretty thick. Yum! I wish there was a big pot of it on the stove right now.

Chicken and Rice soup nourishes and comforts me. That’s a good thing!

Let’s enjoy the comfort zone today and see what inspiration is there for us. Being comfortable is a good thing!

If you’d like to receive updates or even participate in the Moments of Aware Appreciation Movement, make sure you complete the sign-up form.

What makes you comfortable? Please share.

What Makes Life Easier? | A Few Underappreciated Conveniences

I was sitting at my desk today when I created my list of things I appreciate. So, it’s not surprising that today’s list included some conveniences that make my work life easier. And, when work is easier I’m more productive.  And, when I’m more productive I’m less stressed. Easy is good!

Here are a few of the things I appreciate that make life easier for me.

I Appreciate Mechanical Pencils

I am a CPA (accountant in case you aren’t familiar with the acronym). I’ve been using mechanical pencils for over 35 years. So, they tend to be taken for granted.

Not today! This exercise has me becoming aware of the conveniences I enjoy. And, an ever-sharp pencil is one of them. I can choose the lead I like and can even replace the eraser when it gets worn.

A mechanical pencil is seriously cool!

I Appreciate Wifi

So, what is “wifi?” WiFi, is a popular technology that allows an electronic device to exchange data or connect to the internet wirelessly using radio waves. I get the “wi” part but still don’t see the “fi” connection.

Wifi is cool

The convenience of wifi makes life much easier.

Anyway…

Last night the internet from our cable provider was not working. My husband couldn’t understand why the wifi wasn’t working. I had to explain to him that the wifi was working fine but the only thing he really wanted to do with it was reach out to the internet which was not possible.

I imagine I am not alone when I admit that I take wifi for granted.

My technological devices are so “smart” that they switch wifi networks automatically. I come and go from familiar places and without any intervention from me I am kept connected.

Wifi is seriously cool!

I Appreciate Internet Browsers

If you’re reading this, you have relied on an internet browser to pay this visit.

I needed to upgrade my browser last week. It got a bit complicated because my operating system actually required an upgrade as well.  Long story which I won’t bore you with.

So, if you remove the old browser, how do you get to the internet to download the new one?

No, I didn’t do that. But, I became aware that the browser is our “lifeline” to the internet. All that great information that we have access to thanks to the internet browsers.

The internet browser is seriously cool!

These are just of few of the conveniences that make my life easier EVERY day. It’s about time I took a few moments to give them the credit they’re due.

Mechanical pencil, wifi and internet browser…thank you for your service that I have come to rely on.

What conveniences do you take for granted in your life? Once you start noticing them, you’ll find more conveniences to notice. That’s great. Let’s spend some time noticing the good stuff!

If you’d like to receive updates or even participate in the Moments of Aware Appreciation Movement, make sure you complete the sign-up form.

Share your favorite conveniences that you’d like to recognize below.

Addicted to Worrying? | Awareness Shift Highlights Pleasant Surprises

I’ve been a bit “under the weather” the last few days. It’s been a challenging couple of weeks and I “allowed” myself to get way over-stressed with things that seemed to be spiraling out of control. Stress is one of the most damaging environments for our health. So, I am choosing to see this passing storm of dis-ease as a wake-up call.

How can I shift my perception more quickly so that I don’t linger in the experience of overwhelming stress for so long that my immune system can’t handle the additional burden?

I came up with an experiment. 1,000 Moments of Aware Appreciation

10 unique things I bring into my awareness in order to focus on what I appreciate – for 100 days.

I’ll share with you what I discovered from my experiment today…

When you feel yourself starting to worry, take a timeout!

When you feel yourself starting to worry, take a timeout!

I Appreciate Kleenexes

When you’re blowing your nose 30 times a day, the soft texture of a Kleenex salvages the delicate skin on the nose. I actually thought I had used every Kleenex in the house. I keep several boxes around at all times.

I was “worrying” about needing to make an extra trip to the store since the Kleenexes had to be replenished. Pleasant surprise – I found one more box to use until I can replenish my stock.

I Appreciate New Furniture

I have been on a mission to replace the very old “70s” bedroom furniture in our guest bedroom. It’s a long story for another day.

When the drawers are used regularly, the house develops a musty smell. I finally tracked it down and I believe someone stored pipe tobacco in the drawers…probably for many years.  Anything we’ve done to try to clean it up has only made it worse.

So, I finally found some furniture that would complement what was already in there. I was “worrying” that the new and old furniture would “clash.” When it arrived yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised that it looks better than I anticipated.

I Appreciate Olbas Lozenges

OK. So, we’re back to the “crud” as my grandmother called it. I discovered several years ago that I can use Olbas oil on a Kleenex (no surprise there) when I’m sick and it helps keep my sinuses open which allows me to sleep through the night. I’ve tried their lozenges and inhaler but nothing has compared to straight oil on a Kleenex.

Not anticipating having a need for it, I left it in a drawer 500 miles from where I am now. Yesterday, I checked the local health food store to see if they carried it. They only had the lozenges. I bought them but didn’t even open them because I was “worrying” that they weren’t going to do the desired job…certainly not as well as my beloved oil.

Again, pleasant surprise. They changed the formula for the lozenges. Now they are fabulous. I could tell as soon as I opened the box that I was going to have a much improved experience with them.

So, why worry? Rather, wouldn’t I be better served by anticipating a pleasant surprise. It sure seems like that’s what ends up happening quite often anyway.

If you’re addicted to worrying, it can feel “impossible” to make the shift to anticipation of something good rather than something bad. Try distracting yourself by noticing things that you can appreciate.

You may even want to join me in this crusade. For 100 days, write down 10 unique things you appreciate (no repeats). Watch what happens. The more you appreciate, the more you have to appreciate.

Worrying stands no chance when your focus is on looking for the next pleasant surprise.

If you’d like to receive updates or even participate in the Moments of

Aware Appreciation Movement, make sure you complete the sign-up form.Do you have an example of a time when you worked your way out of worrying? Please comment below and like/share so that others can join the discussion.