Posts tagged ‘goals’

March 1, 2014

March challenge: Live as if you were dying

What if someone told you that you had only one month left to live? What would you do with the time remaining to you? Would you do things differently to how you’re doing them now?

This month, I challenge you to make a list of the things you would do if you had only one month left to live. Then, pick three things from this list and do them before the month is out.

We never know how much time is given to us in this life. Let’s do our best to make the most of what we’ve got.

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September 27, 2013

Book Recommendation — “Have Mother, Will Travel” by Claire and Mia Fontaine

It’s a book for women of all kinds, but it’s especially a book for mothers and daughters seeking insight into their own relationships. In Have Mother, Will Travel, mother-daughter (and author) duo Claire and Mia Fontaine embark on a four-month journey around the world together. The ultimate goal of their trip is to revive their flagging relationship, but along the way, 51-year-old Claire and 25-year-old Mia gain fresh insight into their own life journeys, as well as new appreciation for what they each have to offer — to themselves, to each other and to the world. Well-written, funny and very reflective, this book is definitely worth picking up!

havemother-final-cover

“Have Mother, Will Travel: A Mother and Daughter Discover Themselves, Each Other, and the World” by Claire and Mia Fontaine

Here are a few of my favourite quotes from the book:

I’ve become very clear that finding my way forward in life isn’t going to come from figuring out what I want to do, but by staying grounded in the person doing the wanting. The very core of my being, my essential, authentic, whatever-you-call-it self, never has any trouble knowing what she wants, and certainly never worries about how she’s going to get it. (Claire Fontaine)

Sometimes I wonder if we make big moves because we underestimate the importance of smaller ones. Years are just an accumulation of thousands of hours, and what we choose to do with each of them matters. (Mia Fontaine)

Adulthood isn’t a destination, it’s a process, and, as women, we are always coming of age. (Mia Fontaine)

There are some advantages to stumbling around lost for a while. It allows for discovery. (Claire Fontaine)

Change happens in the small moments, when a sliver of light finds its way through the cracks. (Claire Fontaine)

All relationships happen in stages, with varying depths, multiple layers. You invariably reach a point where you hit the ceiling of a certain level of intimacy and then have the option of staying there — which risks the relationship becoming predictable or stale — or you can take it to the next level. (Mia Fontaine)

September 20, 2013

Be alone in the way that matters most

Following on yesterday’s post about the importance of finding silence and solitude in your life, here is interesting insight from the authors of the same book about why opportunities for silence and solitude — so crucial to staying grounded in life and in self — are effectively missing from the lives of today’s younger generation.

In Have Mother, Will Travel, mother-daughter duo Claire and Mia Fontaine take a four-month trip abroad in hopes of reviving their flagging relationship. When 25-year-old Mia confesses that she came on the trip partly to escape the confusion and discontent she feels in her own life, and that she fears falling back into “business and usual” when she returns home, her 50-year-old mother has this to say:

Unless you regularly allow time for solitude and reflection [in your daily life], you’ll probably always go back to business as usual once you’re home, even after a whole summer away. Think about it, [your generation is] basically always available, by text, tweet, e-mail, Facebook; you guys even sleep with your cell phones. You’re never truly alone in the way that matters most — in your own mind; part of it’s always on alert, listening to see how much you matter to everyone else. All of my formative years, unless I was in school or happened to be home when the plastic box on our kitchen wall rang, most of the time my mind was mine, walking, driving, studying, doing chores. Being by yourself is a big part of how you get a sense of self. I think [your generation is] all scared to death to unplug and find out how much you really matter. It doesn’t seem to be enough for you to matter just to you.

I had never thought of it in quite this way, but it’s true: being tethered to a cell phone and to social media also tethers your mind to the task of waiting — waiting for that call, that tweet, that message, that “like,” that external signal that you “matter.”

Unplugging for an afternoon, a day, a week, a month gives your mind time to ease up and stand down. But unplugging isn’t easy, especially if you’re accustomed to being connected 24/7. And the reward for going offline — an unhampered, reflective mind that can more clearly identify and chart the path of your own life’s satisfaction — might not come instantly, either.

In fact, if you’re so used to being plugged in that the mere thought of two hours offline makes your skin crawl, then you’re probably going to squirm through any gadget-free time with your teeth gritted, your body thrumming, and your thoughts narrowed to that single moment when you can snap the cell phone back to life.

That’s OK. Unplug anyway. Then do it again. It’s going to take time for your mind to get comfortable with the idea of being completely unoccupied and left to its own devices, distraction-free. But with time, that level of comfort — and its associated benefits — will come. Perhaps that’s why Claire Fontaine suggests regular time for solitude and reflection. Repetition breeds habit, and it also nurtures comfort and growth.

I know for me, if I’ve been through an especially busy period or haven’t pulled the media plug in quite a while, it takes me a good few days of self-care to wind down and reach a point where I can relax and settle into that space of my own again. In these cases, I’m always surprised at how I came to lose touch with myself in the first place — yes, it’s easy to get caught up in “life,” but how did I get swept along for so long? Returning to that quiet space of uninterrupted self-reflection is always a treat, and I’m always glad that I took the time and made the effort to get there. It’s in this space, where my mind is my own and my true self lives, that I am able to really tap into the things that matter in my life. Just getting to that place is often enough; afterwards, I can move back into my normal routine feeling refreshed and recharged, with my eye and my heart clear about where I really want to go.

So in this world of cell phones and social media, I encourage you to unplug — completely — every once in a while. Unnerving as it may seem, it may also help you discover how amazing you really are inside.

May 23, 2013

Could you burn your bridges before you even start?

Here is an intriguing quote from Mike Dooley’s book Notes from the Universe:

It does little good to say you want something and then, “just in case,” prepare to do without.
Burn your bridges.

It might seem risky or irresponsible to forgo contingency planning and just go for the goal or objective you desire, as if it were yours already.  But maybe it is yours already, if only you commit to it 100 per cent — no looking back, escape routes be damned.  What if . . . ?

January 12, 2013

If you want to get anything done in this life . . . just do it

Have you ever let naysayers or internal fears stop you from pursuing the dreams or paths that call to you?  Here’s a bit of inspiration to help overcome such obstacles, courtesy of a few books I read recently:

From Plastiki:  Across the Pacific Ocean on Plastic, David de Rothschild’s chronicle of his four-year project to build a boat from recycled plastic bottles and sail it across the ocean from San Francisco to Sydney:

My attitude is that there will always be skeptics and people who want you to fail.  If you worry about failure, you’re not going to get anything done in this life. . . . [But] when you follow an audacious dream into the unknown, the journey itself can be inspiring in ways beyond imagining.

De Rothschild and his six-person crew successfully sailed their boat of 12,500 plastic bottles from San Francisco to Sydney, raising awareness about ocean health and inspiring thousands of people to rethink their relationships to disposable plastics.

And from Dauod Hari’s excellent book The Translator:  A Tribesman’s Memoir of Darfur:

You have to be stronger than your fears if you want to get anything done in this life.

Hari, a translator by chance, risked his life several times over to take foreign journalists into the Darfur region of Sudan, all so that stories about the atrocities of genocide occurring in the area could reach international eyes and ears.

If Hari can overcome fears of persecution and death in order to walk his path, can you overcome your own (perhaps lesser) fears to walk yours?