You can check out the Survival cycle and Fulfillment cycles here.

Now onward and upward!

The tool that turns a Survival cycle into a Fulfillment cycle is what I call the PLAY Mindset™. As stated in the last post on the Fulfillment cycle,  isn’t about Leisure nor recreation. It’s a set of skills that we are born with, and as children we used these tools to discover our world. Since a child’s work is called play, we at some point started to believe that the mindset and skills of a child weren’t applicable for us as adults. I would like to argue that, if we refine them, they are applicable and they very much have the power to create a successful, fulfilling life.

So what are the tools and what do they look like?

Well, you have seen a spark of yourself in either of the last two posts, you have taken the first step toward a PLAY Mindset™.

Awareness: Dr. Ellen Langer, a Play Mindsetsocial psychologist who studies mindlessness and mindfulness, states that all we need to do to become more mindful is to notice something new. Read more from Dr. Langer here
–>Auto-pilot to Present

Non-Judgment: The basic action of non-judgment is the act of removing “shoulds” from any awareness and to move to critiquing the objective and not the personal.
–>Fear to Compassion

Accept: It is, what it is. As in, if you’re stuck in traffic, you’re stuck in traffic. If there are dirty dishes, there are dirty dishes. Wishing for something different doesn’t change the fact of what is. Can you take a deep breath and see it.
–>Blame to Balance

Personal Responsibility: This is my very favorite one! The only thing in this world you have control over is yourself. Start and finish here. What is your role in this play (the dirty dishes, the stuck in traffic) and how do you wish to change your part to change your world.
–>Victim to Power

Curiosity: the power of “what if”, and “what don’t I know here”, “what can I learn”, “how can I see this differently”
–>Closed-off to Possibility

Vision: “What do I want”, “What do I value”, “Who do I want to be”, “How do I want to grow”
–>Dwelling to Belief

Choice: This is all about taking action. “What steps WILL I take to get from this moment to where I want to be.”
–>Drifting to Decision/action

Unknown/Discomfort: How can this be a tool?  This is about the embrace or rejection of the unknown and discomfort. When you embrace these you build excitement. When you reject them you create anxiety. Why? Because, both discomfort and the unknown are universal in our lives, you can reject discomfort and the unknown but they are still there; much like gravity. How you use and embrace discomfort and the unknown determines your life as a whole.
–>Anxiety to Excitement

Want to learn more? Have any thoughts or questions so far?

Yesterday I wrote about the Survival Cycle, and if you’re human, you’ve been in this cycle. It’s a part having a mind and living this life. Everyone steps into this cycle in some aspect of his or her life every now and again. The problems with the Survival Cycle happen when it’s the only cycle you know. If you stay in this cycle too long you can fall into hate and resentment or worse apathetic depression. If the past equals the future and you aren’t living in your life, what’s the point? This is a dangerous place to live and it’s important to recognize the cycle before apathy sets in.

So, what is on the other side of the Survival Cycle?

If the Survival cycle is habit driven and past focused then the counterpart, in my mind, is living each day while making your life and circumstances better and better. I call this the Fulfillment cycle.

So, what are the characteristics of the Fulfillment Cycle?fulfillment_Cycle

 Present -> This is the act of noticing what is happening in your life, right now. What do you feel, what are your senses telling you? Being present is the act of stepping out of the story in your head and seeing what is happening right this minute.

Compassion -> If you are fully engaged in your day, you are more capable of knowing what’s happening around you and being compassionate with yourself, your circumstances and others. You’re less likely to project a story and more likely to take in what is actually happening. “Oh, that kid is crying in the store and that mom is drawing a great boundary.”   “I didn’t get enough sleep last night and I’m being a bit forgetful and short tempered, I need to take care of myself.”

Balance -> By seeing the world around you more clearly and by breathing into compassion for yourself and others, there is a settling and relaxation that occurs. You see where you currently are in your day, your relationship, and your life. In this place you feel an openness and freedom.

Power -> When you are in the moment and feeling open, you feel the power to take control of your actions. “Yes, I’m tired AND I don’t have to react to other people negatively.” “I can create what I want for myself.” “I will tell people ‘no’ and be kind doing it.” “I can smile at that mother and child who are having a tough day.”

Possibility -> When you feel compassion and power, all of a sudden there are more possibilities you can grab ahold of, options you can take, and ways of being that can change your direction.

Belief -> All of these possibilities start to show you that you are not your past. You start to see your value, what you WANT to be, and where you can grow and build new things. Your beliefs become more forward thinking. You aren’t stuck; you are building your life.

Decision -> With possibility and the belief that new things are possible, you feel empowered to make new (sometimes bold, sometimes baby step) decisions. These decisions slowly build, and you start to notice how the world and others show up for you differently. You are creating new circumstances!

Excitement -> Decisions don’t always work out. However, with the knowledge of possibility and your expanding belief in your growth, your excitement builds. Decisions aren’t right or wrong; they turn into learning experiences and stepping-stones to what you want and who you are becoming.

From excitement the cycle continues on again.

So how do you get into the Fulfillment Cycle?

For me, the Fulfillment Cycle is created by what I call the PLAY Mindset™…

I know, “play” can be a word that gives a motivated or stressed out person pause. I mean, who has time to play when there is so much that needs to be done?

Stick with me here. When I say PLAY I’m not talking about recreation or leisure, and I’m not talking directly about playful action. I’m talking about a set of skills we’ve always had, that as adults we abandon for stress and worry. I’m talking about a purposeful mindset that supports a person in creating success AND fulfillment. It’s my way of getting out of the Survival Cycle and into a purposeful, meaningful Fulfillment Cycle.

Stay tuned for more on the PLAY Mindset™ and the tools that help create Fulfillment…

 

Do you ever feel like you are in this cycle?Survival_cycle

Auto-pilot -> having the same thoughts, feelings and actions that have really become habitual. Some patterns you chose others are unconscious.

Fear -> a feeling that something is off and it’s unknown so you can’t do anything about it and no one else seems to be doing anything about it either… Is my relationship ok? Will I be fired or laid off from work? Am I a good parent?

Blame -> since you don’t know, it’s easy to move to blame. Blaming others, blaming circumstances, blaming your self for not being better or smarter.

Victim -> When you feel fear and start to blame, where else can you go but to a place of the victim. Why won’t someone help me? I have to do everything alone. I am alone. The world is against me.

Closed-off -> So when there isn’t anyone on your team it’s time to protect yourself and build walls for protection.

Dwell -> in a closed-off position, without any real feedback, but your own auto-pilot story, you dwell on what’s NOT working and who’s to blame, creating even more worry and stress

Drift -> since the focus is on the past and you are running on auto pilot you tend to drift through your days. Flowing on the current of your current circumstances whether they are good or bad.

Anxiety -> since you are focused on the past and drifting through your present circumstances, the future very much looks like the past or even worse than where you are currently. What if you lose that job? And then the cycle continues.

Can you see the cycle in an aspect of your life (big or small, one area or many areas)?

This is why we like Vacations… Auto-pilot must go offline and something shifts even if only for a moment or during vacation.

What if there were a tool, that each individual possesses and can cultivate, to break the cycle?

If this is a Survival cycle, what does a Fulfillment cycle look like?

stay tuned…

Prologue:

This piece is inspired by a story I read years ago.  It’s more a lecture, to me, than a story as it is speaking directly to the reader.  It speaks of a room you are in where all is known about the room.   A place you’ve lived in all your life and you’ve decorated and redecorated to suit your taste.  There is also a door.  A door that leads to a void.  There seems to be no floors and no walls.  Maybe there is sound, maybe something but it is unknown to you and no light shines within.  The room has become completely known and boring to you.  The excitement, curiosity and fear are focused at the door, and the void.  Will you step through?

I quite like this story and it has stuck with me for years and years.  What is beyond my room and in the void beyond?  Am I brave enough to step through to the unknown?  Below is me playing with the story, “The Room.

===============================

I jumped through to that void and what did I find?
The same damn room.
I was confused, did I miss something
this isn’t new, exciting, scary it’s just…
a room
I jumped again
This time… The same damn room!
I felt confusion
and from a confusion of expectation
an expectation of something new and different
came RAGE
Destruction of the room, fighting it all.
Throwing objects out into the void
The room in shambles and my energy wasted
I stepped into the void once more
…to the same room.

With no more rage to spend I collapse into a pile of tears.
What am I doing wrong?
Why this room, always?
I don’t want this room! I’m cursed
I cry until I can cry no longer and I look to the void again.
This time it will be different
 I step through and ….. same room….
despair and then apathy…
I lie for what seems like forever frozen in apathy
no will, no place, no movement
then to the void, the void that let me down so.
What did I fear?
Why did I fear?
What did I hope to find?
Why did I jump in the first place?
Why keep jumping?
What went wrong?
Sitting upright I take in the familiar
a room where nothing ever changes
Then to the void where change was once sought
and the fear of what that change could be and mean.
A deep breath and then another.
A thought arises and it goes by… and then another… and another
A smile, an energy, a creative surge.
Eyes closed and through the void once more
Everything has changed
there is a breeze and light and energy
focus and movement is everywhere
and yet…

What really changed?

 

pexels-photo-260413.jpegOh, hello, piece of my shadow. It’s been quite a while since we spoke. I’m so sorry that I’ve ignored you for so long.

I’m so glad that you have kept in touch even though I’ve been ignoring you and projecting you. Your patience is infinite.

I’m looking forward to some long conversations as we get reacquainted and start working as a team again. Please feel free to bring some other shadow pieces to the party as you see fit. It’s time to reconnect and become whole again.

New Cup

Posted: February 7, 2018 in contemplative
Tags: , , , ,

So here I stand
Cup in hand
It overflows with stagnant slime covered liquid
Nothing can be added and the old will not help create the new
So with that I pour the contents to the floor
And with the empty cup in hand
I see that the vessel will not hold the bigger grander plan

The cup had it’s day and
It’s time to throw it away
To the floor it is released
Pieces on the floor nothing more

A new vessel is awaiting, temporary for sure
One day it will end on the floor
But it will hold the next journey at hand
A grander, more difficult journey
New skin, new mission, it’s time to begin

On the cup a reminder of what’s allowed within
light heart, curious spirit, able willing body, play mindset:
Embolden all

 

Thank you Gretchen Rubin!

I have been struggling, truly struggling, with getting things done and figuring out what motivates and drives me to get things done. I once wrote in a private blog, “It’s a decision to do! Nothing more. Nothing less.” I went on to say that if I wanted to change my diet or drink more water, I didn’t have to throw out my junk food or rearrange my family’s diet – I just did it. It’s the decision. In those moments when I make the decision I feel unstoppable.

Here’s the thing. There are times when I can’t make myself do stuff. I say I need to do something and then I go take a nap or I clean the house. I refuse to hold myself to the work. I struggle and more importantly I suffer. Nothing gets done and all of a sudden I hate myself.

So I try something else.

Maybe if I get someone to hold me accountable I can get myself to follow through. NOPE. That fails, too. It’s awful! The “have to” gets in my way. I start, but just fizzle and I fizzle quickly. And then, I Suffer.

What the hell is wrong with me? I know I can motivate. I know I can do crazy things and be disciplined and drive and make things happen. Why can I do grand things sometimes and at other times I can’t make myself do stuff and other people can’t make me or inspire me either? Even being contrarian doesn’t work for me. If someone says “I bet you can’t!”, I shrug it off and don’t really care.

DAMN IT! What will inspire me to “DO”? This has been my curse.

Until yesterday.

I was listening to the Tim Ferriss podcast and he was interviewing Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen explained there are four tendencies that form out of the question, “How do I respond to expectations?” It turns out that this simple word, expectation, is THE player in what gets people to “DO”. I was interested but not overly so.

Towards the end of the podcast Gretchen came back around to tendencies and asked Tim what he thought his tendency was. Tim is a Questioner and as they discussed the traits in detail I finally understood my husband! I was so excited, while I walked around the lake listening to the podcast, that I actually clapped my hands when they said something that totally explained who he was. I was blown away. I’ve never come across such an on point personality trait description.   I had fallen down the rabbit hole!

Sadly, the only tendency they didn’t discuss was the Rebel and I had a feeling I was one. So, as I often do, I Googled the Rebel tendency and downloaded the book on Audible.

As I learned about the Rebel I started to become super excited to have this awareness of my tendency and at the same time I was terrified. This description of a Rebel from Gretchen’s book really rang true for me: “You can’t make me and neither can I”.rebel

What was I suppose to do with that? I told my husband about our tendencies, from my limited understanding, and his response to mine was, “wow, that sounds really childish.” My heart was broken and I told him so. He wasn’t attacking me but he was saying exactly what I tell myself in my head every time someone tells/asks me to do stuff. First, I react internally with “Well since you want me to, I won’t.” and then another part of me kicks in and says “That’s crazy, you sound like a 5 year old.” And the dissonance begins.

Of course my husband’s compassion kicked in and we started to look for solutions. He wants my success and fulfillment as much as I do. “Maybe if you look for something you want out of the experience?” he said, “like when I wash dishes I think of how much I like the warm water on my hands.”

My husband is so wise. As I listened to the Audible version of The Four Tendencies today that’s pretty much the lynch pin for a Rebel. I have to do it because I want to do it. It has to come from me, but in a way that is a want, not an internal expectation. If I expect myself to do something, I rebel against myself. I know it’s crazy, but it’s true.

I could go on and on about this, but for now I want to learn more about how our reaction to expectations affects our actions. I believe this idea and the four tendencies Gretchen Rubin describes are a powerful framework for self understanding. To find out your tendency go to gretchenrubin.com.

So once again, thank you Gretchen! You have no idea the clarity you have brought to my thoughts, feelings and daily life. I feel empowered and creative and I really owe it all to your understanding of expectations and the fact that you’ve shared it with the world.

“You can’t spell rebel without the BE!” I love it!