Feeling Discouraged? Maybe You Forgot Something

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Recently, a student gave me a thank you note. In it, he thanked me for several things I did for him.

I forgot I did those things.

Reading the note, I thought, Oh, wow, he’s talking about me.

I totally forgot those nice things I did.

I forget that I do so many things right. Do you ever do that?

The day before that, we had a workshop where the facilitators asked us to talk about the mistakes we’ve made at work. Our insensitive moments. Acts of bias.

If you’re anything like me, I acutely remember mistakes. Standing like a deer in front of people frozen in fear. Crying in the car. Cringing over every less-than-perfect word I wish I could clutch back to my chest.

We need to improve. We need to learn. I get it. I’m a teacher who gets lots of feedback.

people-2557396_960_720And yet, how many times have I gone to a performance review and had my boss say, “Hey Georgi, you are doing really well. How do you do that? What techniques are you using that are going well? What new assignments did you create? What memorable moments have happened in your classes?”

Never.

Several teaching awards collect dust on my shelf: pieces of dead wood and laminate plastic with inscriptions. Symbolically, people think I do things right.

In reality, people are alive and pulsing. Students talk and hyperventilate and shake and tremble. They smile and frown. They come in and out the door and fidget and sigh. It’s a never stopping, constant interaction: giving and taking, struggling and growing, sharing and laughing.

My classroom is alive and flowing and 100% YES, I make mistakes.

But could you also ask another question?

black-and-white-2561651_960_720What have you done right?

Ask yourself what you’ve done right. Ask yourself what your friends do right. Ask yourself what your lover does right. Ask yourself what your parents did right. Ask yourself what the people in your community are doing right. Why???

Because we do so many things right! SO. MANY. THINGS.

hands-1797401__340We give thousands of words of encouragement and support. Hundreds of hours of work. Dozens of recommendations and favors. Singular and very personal acts of kindness.

Beautiful, gorgeous, reader: You can always find fault in yourself and others. That’s easy. Want success and mental health? Then start recognizing what you’re doing right. Offer yourself credit for what you’re doing right. Analyze and repeat what you’re doing right. Tell everyone around you all the things they do right.

Hey boo, you know what? I’m talking about an ideal world. Please don’t wait around for someone to ask you what you’re doing right. Ask yourself.

Revel in the answers. You, and all the people you love, are doing so many things right.

Yes, you.

Thank you for all you have done. Feeling discouraged lately? That’s ok. Did you forget? That’s ok too. We remember.

You do so many things right. Loving you out there. XO

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VIP, Baby, You and Me

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Last year, for a birthday party, my friends and I were planning a trip and booking a hotel. We laughed and joked about how it was super important to call up that hotel and tell them that we were VIPs. We wanted the VIP rooms. The VIP treatment.

Because we’re VIPs. And so are you.

VIP, baby, you and me.

And yeah, haters, we can all be VIP. Most people just don’t believe it’s possible.

You may need a little practice believing in your VIP status. Not to worry! Repeat after me:

The VIP Credo:

I rest and take time to relax

I drink fresh running water

vip-1658921_960_720I eat fresh food

I move my body and get fresh air

I spend time with people who appreciate me

I say no to people and events that don’t feel good to me

I am kind to myself and everyone else

I let everyone off the hook and forgive them all

I forgive myself

I allow myself lots of time and space

I appreciate how far I’ve come

I dance and sing and laugh and have so much fun

I expect other people to treat me really, really well because

I treat myself really, really well and show them how it’s done.

Hey boo, are you playing small? That’s ok. It happens sometimes. It’s just that you are so very VIP. So very important. You are the most important person in your life. Believe it. Act like it.

Gorgeous, important, one-of-a-kind reader: Give yourself time and attention. Expect nothing but the best. Start rolling with a VIP crew of family and friends.

Yes, you can. Yes, it’s possible. Yes, you’re worth it. Oh hey! Did you already know that? PERFECT.

VIP, baby! You and me.

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Maybe You Should Give Up

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Here’s what is really interesting about a fight: It takes two people.

Struggles, arguments, conflicts… they take at least two people.

Think of an issue or fight or conflict you might be facing right now in your life. Notice how you are participating. You’re resisting or you’re attacking. You’re on the offensive or you’re on the defensive. You’re engaged.

Now consider this: Maybe you should give up.

dew-829184_960_720Imagine a tug of war game: you at one end, someone else on the other. At any time, you can drop the rope. Surrender. Say “good game,” give someone a high five, and walk away. Find another game. There’s lots of games out there. Are you tired of tug of war? Who am I to decide for you? You decide.

Maybe you should give up.

My mother used to drive me crazy with her fearful phone calls and advice and constant monitoring of my weight and body and clothes. I would get upset, argue, yell, cry, complain about it to all of my friends. My reactions did not change the situation. They made it even more frustrating and charged. I suffered while my mom was just doing her thing. I made the situation so much worse for myself than it ever had to be.

Finally, I changed. Now, I practice not reacting. I practice letting her do her thing and not participating in it. I give up. It feels free. It’s even kind of funny. She is not that powerful. I am. Our relationship is different now, and so much better.

You are powerful. You are strong. You can listen to anyone and choose not to care what they say. People speak words and offer opinions nonstop. Constantly. You can practice non attachment. You can practice being Teflon and not letting words stick. You can disengage from any battle. And maybe you should.

Maybe you should give up.

If you were on an old timey hot air balloon and wanted to fly higher, you’d dump sandbags because they are heavy. Because you want to be lighter. Because you don’t deserve to be weighed down in this one beautiful life you’ve been given.

Beautiful, smart, argumentative reader: I’m a leader and a powerful person. So are you. Fight for what you believe in. Argue with whoever you want. Participate in any kind of struggle you choose. Be completely in the game. Any game you want.

You can also be honest about the battles that aren’t fun anymore. The arguments that don’t change. The patterns that drain you. The opponents that don’t fight fair.

You don’t have to fight. A fight takes two people. You can stop participating.

Do you want to feel lighter?

Do you want to fly higher?

Do you want to be free?

Maybe, gorgeous human, you should give up.

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Worried About a Healthy Adult? They Don’t Need That

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“My wife is not doing so well,” my coworker said, “And she may need a kidney. If I’m not a match, we are going to need someone else to donate a kidney. But yeah, she is not doing so well.”

I stood there and nodded.

My old habit is to nervously try to make things better. Talk too much. Give advice. Feel anxious and hopeless. Absorb pain. Worry.

More and more, I am trying to practice new habits. That day, I stood, arms at my side, palms open, shoulders relaxed. Calmly nodded. Looked into his pretty brown eyes. Quietly listening.

He paused and breathed deeply. I stayed silent and breathed with him.

After a few moments, he said: “It is what it is.”

I said, “Yeah. If I can help, please let me know.”

He repeated, “Yeah, not much to do really, it just is what it is.”

I said, “You are a good husband. You are doing your best.”

He said, “I love her.”

I said, “Yeah. You have been really good to her.”

We smiled and said goodbye, see you later, and I left. Things will work out. He is a grown adult who will figure it out.

Worries make me feel heavy, anxious, and sad.

ballons-937930_960_720Imagine you are on a hot air balloon. There are big worry sandbags weighing you down. We often don’t even realize that they are on our balloon taking up space!!! Meditation and mindfulness help you see your thinking. When you identify worries, you can question if they are useful or not. You can question if they are real or fiction. You can choose to think differently.

You can throw sandbags off your balloon and feel lighter.

Worries are heavy. Practice lightening up. Little by little, practice wishing people love and freedom from suffering. Practice trusting that people will work things out. Practice faith that people’s problems and issues are their spiritual curriculum, and they will benefit from figuring them out… themselves. 

Healthy adults take care of themselves. Always. You might not like the way they’re doing it, but it’s not your life. It’s their life and their journey. They are learning. You aren’t needed.

How does that news feel to you? I hope it feels free.

Healthy adults don’t need you.

Neil Gaiman once wrote: “I like stories where women save themselves.”

Let people save themselves. Overcoming challenges makes people strong. If they call on you for help, be there. Otherwise, spend your time wishing people well. Encourage them. Love them. Then, get out of their business.

Oh hey… by the way, is your life perfect? If you’re human, it’s not. Great news! When you worry less, you now have more time to focus on yourself.

You’re not avoiding that, are you? 😉

Beautiful, gorgeous, wanting-to-help reader: It is wonderful when someone cares for you. You know what feels the best? Empowerment. Physical and emotional adulthood. Learning and knowing how to care for yourself. Asking for help from who you want to help you, when you need it.

Hey boo, I’ve got issues. I often feel scared and insecure. I struggle with people and body image and I wage an ongoing battle with “not being good enough.” I’ve written about my struggles in my blog. Overcoming them makes me stronger. More successful. More compassionate. Less anxious. Brave.

Please, please, please: Don’t worry about me. I’m an adult. I seek help. Lean on friends. Educate myself. Get stronger. Lighten up.

Want to join me in my new practices?: Worry less. Trust more. Love more. Accept more.

Save yourself.

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7 Ways to Have More Fun at Work Without Quitting Your Job

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Are you feeling stuck at work? Uninspired? Bored? Tired of the same routine or worse, fed up with your coworkers? That feels terrible. You know what is even worse? There are people doing the same or similar jobs as you, and they are having more fun.

That’s right: People are having more fun than you at work!

And now, the good news! You can have more fun at work. Yes, you can. No, you don’t have to quit or leave or change anything. Really.

It’s time for you to slowly start to take your power back and take responsibility for the way your day plays out. Have a little more fun tomorrow. I’ve got eight ideas to get you started.

Enjoy!

cat-3204836__340#1: Learn a few puns

Have you heard of the “bad pun dog”? Google that dog immediately! Learn a few puns. Then, drop one into your next work day. Here are a few of my favorites:

“I’m scared of cats. I don’t know why. They just freak meowt. Seriously, I’m not kitten.”

“I used to work at an orange juice factory. I got canned. I couldn’t concentrate.”

“It’s hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs. They always take things literally.”

#2: Develop a catch phrase

Do you have to respond to routine requests? Convey the same kind of news over and over? Next time, use a catch phrase. Develop a signature style. Or steal one. Like Kramer’s exit line. When wrapping up a phone call with a coworker, say, “Bede bede bede, that’s all, Joan.” Or instead of saying, “Do you want to take a coffee break?” start saying, “Do you want to go walk my cat? Seriously. I’m not kitten.”

#3: Develop a signature style

Start wearing something new to work. Start doing something different with your hair. Start wearing all blue over and over. Every day, all blue. Or wear a bow tie. Try a new shade of eye shadow. Push the limit a little. See if you can earn a new nickname, blue boo!

background-21751__340#4: Do something different to your workspace

Spice up that desk. Put a bowl of weird candy on it. One that doesn’t taste very good. Make everyone try your weird candy. Get little boxes of nerds. If people eat them, say, “Nerds for the nerd!” and laugh hysterically. Get a box of chocolates. Whenever anyone eats one, say, “Isn’t life just like a box of chocolates?” Hide the map to the chocolates. No one will know what they are going to get.

#5: Play a nice practical joke on someone

Slip a picture from Pinterest under someone’s door. Hand write a little funny note and leave it on their desk. Write a little poem and slip it under someone’s door: “Roses are red, violets are blue, I drank your coffee, ate your sandwich too!” Awww! How fun! Simple. Silly. Sinister.

#6: Pick a line from a song and work it into your day

Try to say song lyrics, naturally, in the course of your day. In the staff meeting, say, “I don’t think we should ever stop believing. We should hold onto that feeling.” Pick increasingly weird song lyrics. Then, start making up songs about your day. Simply change the lyrics of famous songs!

“People get ready, there’s a staff meeting coming, make all your copies, and prepare to be bored. People get coffee, get your smart phones all charged up, we’re eating free bagels, thank the lord.”

#7: Ask yourself, “How could this be more fun?”

This is one of my favorite questions of all time. Anytime, in any day, stop and ask yourself, “How could this be more fun?” Whatever you do, especially things you do over and over, ask yourself, “How can I make this more fun?”

Beautiful, gorgeous, funny reader: Life can be a little more fun. You can add a little more fun to your day tomorrow. Try it. Of course, we are all always going to have bad days. But, like autocorrect always says, you don’t have to put up with that shirt.

Loving you out there! Have more fun at work.

 

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5 Favorite Free Meditations

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Trying to drink less wine? Trying to relax a little more before bed? Trying to chill out before a big day at work?

Try meditating.

Meditation is not weird. It’s not religious. It’s not Buddhism. It’s not difficult.

Meditation is the silent, nonjudgmental awareness of your own thoughts.

Meditation will change your life.

Every day, I meditate for 15-20 minutes. I started with 10 minutes. You could start with 5 minutes, like a quiet, technology free drive to the grocery store. Here are five of my favorite free meditations. They are from the Insight Timer, the best free app ever. I also recommend the free 10 minute, 10 day sequence on Headspace. I also recommend leaving your phone at home and silently walking around your neighborhood.

Happy Meditating! Let me know if you like one of these five beauties:

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Insight Timer App

#1: The Timer on Insight Timer

This is an awesome meditation tool! You can personalize and change the time and settings. I love the raindrops. I love the Basu. I enjoy the little bells. Ahhhhhhh.

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Insight Timer App

#2: Stillness by Riley Yee

I think this is some kind of wooden flute. Whatever. Judge me. Look at Riley’s picture! He’s a tough guy who is cool with the flute. That makes me happy. This one really chills me out.

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Insight Timer App

#3: Heart Chakra Tibetan Singing Bowls

Have you heard the singing bowls? No? You’re going to love me now. They are magical sounds that feel so good. There are several of these meditations, I like the heart opening one, because I often get scared and try to close my heart. This reminds me to breathe deeply and soften up a little more.

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Insight Timer App

#4: Theta Mare 20 – Binaural Music

Theta brainwave state is where you can create neural pathways with more ease. Brain wave states are fascinating. If you slow down your brain waves, it’s easier to rewire your brain. OMG. Freaking cool. Theta waves are in all kinds of music. Start Googling it! You’re going to be so intrigued. Then, listen to this meditation. It’s electronic and trancey and supercool.

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Insight Timer App

#5: Stop Worry & Stress Guided Meditation

This one is the only guided meditation I use regularly. I speak and hear a lot of words in my job. However, if I’m stressed, this Moriam lady really helps me. She is direct and no nonsense and that puts me at ease. My favorite line is: “It’s likely you knew what to do all along.” This one is as good as a glass of wine for chilling you out. I’m not kidding. Try it.

Beautiful, relaxed, chilled-out reader: Have fun with your meditation practice. Try new meditations. Try walking meditations. Try driving meditations. Try shower meditations. Try meditating in the bathtub!

Meditating is one of my most important daily practices. I hope you enjoy some of these meditations. I hope you continue to do what feels good to you.

After all, you’ve never needed me. You’ve known what to do all along.

Loving you out there! Take a meditation break today!

If You’ve Got A Problem, YO! You’ll Solve It.

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  • My Q: What is your career goal (if known)?
  • My student’s A: “Does anyone ever really know???”

I LOL’ed sitting alone on my couch holding their stack of papers:

Does anyone ever really know?

Yes, wise pupil. Some people know. You don’t know right this minute. That’s ok.

Can you relate? I can.

My name is Georgi, and I’m a recovering control freak. I often think that not knowing is a problem. I want to know everything now and I don’t. I want to fix everything immediately and I can’t. I want to trust that my life will continue to surprise and delight me and yet, I have doubts. That’s ok.

Let’s face it. It has to be ok.

Life presents problems.

But here’s another beautiful thing life will offer: Solutions.

Vanilla Ice rapped, “If you got a problem, Yo! I’ll solve it.”

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Inside-Outer. It’s a problem.

Do you have a problem? Please call Vanilla Ice.

HA HA. Totally kidding. Don’t call that guy! Guess what, yo? We don’t need him. If you’ve got a problem, Yo! It’s ok. You’ll solve it.

Solutions are coming.

BUT WAIT!!! HOW DO YOU REALLY KNOW???

A-HA! Gotcha! Watch out for it: Anxiety and fear can skyrocket when you journey into the unknown! It feels terrible, right?

We can work on that. Lookout, Vanilla Ice! Here’s a new rap:

Yo! You’ll solve this. It will be ok. It’s ok to feel scared and anxious. It’s probably because you care about this situation. You care. You are full of care and desire. That is important. And there is a solution to your problem. There could be many solutions. If the exact solution isn’t clear right now, it’s on the way.

Solutions are on the way. Help is on the way. More information is on the way. More pieces to the solution are coming. Relief is coming.

Get quiet. Give it a rest. Give it some thought. Give it some time. Give it more space.

Gorgeous, human reader. Messy, beautiful soul: If you’ve got a problem, yo, you’ll solve it. You will solve it. Maybe the solution isn’t clear right this second, but get quiet and trust your inner guidance.

  • Q: Who really knows?
  • A: You. You always really know.

Loving you out there.

Solutions are on the way.

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