Archive for the ‘Excellence’ Category

Good Vibrations

Today is a terrific day. I’m not sure what has made it so, but everything about today feels good. It started last night actually. I had a massage client who took a chance on me. She had no idea what kind of work I could do for her, but she took a $50 chance. I delivered, and she really fed my ego.  It made for a really great evening.

Then this morning, I was on Facebook and she messaged me. Again, she complimented me and bragged about how good her session was and how she slept all night for the first time in months. That’s a pretty cool way to start the morning. Hubby was awake earlier than usual, and of course he always makes me feel like a million dollars. God I am so freaking blessed. Everything about this morning felt right, and I felt it deep inside. It was almost a quivering…a shiver of energy that repeatedly zings through my system….the Universe giving me a wonderful pep talk…a good vibration, if you will.

That’s it. Good Vibrations. It hit me that I desperately wanted some Beach Boys this morning. What is it about hippie looking bearded guys from the 70’s singing happy harmony songs that has the power to seal the deal on a terrific morning? It’s the Good Vibrations, and that’s what I was listening to.

The thing about good vibrations is they don’t stay contained very well. When a person is feeling good vibrations, that feeling overflows onto everything and to everyone. When a person is feeling down, the best medicine is to find some good vibrations. Former Dallas Cowboy Drew Pearson was in town earlier this week, and he brought some really good vibrations. He carries an energy and a presence of happiness, thankfulness, and personal best everywhere he goes. He delivers good vibrations. His message was “…to be successful, surround yourself with good people” or in other words, surround yourself with good vibrations.

Sometimes we get into a funk in which we “waller” in self pity hoping for someone else to change so that we can once again feel some good vibrations. The problem is we can’t wait for someone else to deliver those good vibrations. We must be the generator of good vibrations. How do we do that? I mean, if you are down, you are down, right? You can’t just shift on a whim can you?

Yes, you can. Everything in life is a choice. Being pissed off at the world (or anyone in it) is a choice. Being happy and generating those good vibrations is a choice. I choose to surround myself with people around whom I feel AMAZING and for whom I choose to give good vibrations. I think that’s why I like hanging around my sweet hunky baby. He chooses to radiate those good vibrations and it affects everyone around him. I love Facebook comments that are positive. I use those to generate good vibrations by reading and re-reading them. Great music, like some good ol’ Beach Boys generates my good vibrations. Being kind to someone generates good vibrations. Even a smile can rock someone’s world for the better.

Gotta keep those lovin’ good vibrations   A happenin’ with her
Gotta keep those lovin’ good vibrations   A happenin’ with her
Gotta keep those lovin’ good vibrations   A happenin’ Ahhhhhhhh
Good good good good vibrations….

Graduation Gifts

Graduation Day for my oldest beautiful one is fast approaching. Some have asked if I am sad and teary-eyed. My response to that question is a resounding NO! I am so excited for her. She gets to step away from the confines of small town life with its limited choices and enter the big beautiful and limitless world of opportunities.

One of the neatest traditions of graduation is that of giving gifts. We do this for many life transitions including weddings, housewarmings, birthdays, retirement parties, and so on. There is something very special about giving to the one who is about to take a leap that allows us to feel we are helping them on their way. As she moves closer and closer to 7:00 PM on May 29th, I keep thinking about what it is I most want to give to her. So far, the list looks like this:

1. I give her the gift of love. May she always have an abundance of love to give others because the love she has for herself is absolutely overflowing.

2. I give her the gift of open-mindedness. It took me a very long time to acquire this precious item. I share it with her so that she will have the opportunity to experience so much more of life because she can see beyond her own experiences.

3. I give her the gift of intuition. Again, this is one that I’ve only recently uncovered for myself. She is already developing her gift of intuition, and it is serving her extremely well. I trust that she will learn to use it in just the right balance so as to protect herself and serve others.

4. I give her the gift of courage. It takes guts to put oneself out there for the world to judge your talents and abilities. Sometimes that judgment brings some disappointment. Other times it comes with abundant rewards. Both experiences require significant courage. Here is trusting that the disappointments will be blessings in disguise and the abundant rewards will be easily recognizable.

5. I give her the gift of inner peace. The ability to rest quietly in one’s own company and enjoy a bit of solitude is priceless. It is also critically necessary to maintaining one’s sanity and for listening to intuition. Here’s to the ability to quiet her mind.

6. I give her the gift of vision. May she always look forward to both choose and see her destiny and shape it the way she wants it to be. Looking back only attracts more of what one is attempting to leave behind. Forward focus is the only way to travel through life.

7. I give her the gift of everlasting inner beauty. May everyone who crosses her path throughout her life feel as though they have experienced a gift simply being in the presence of such an amazing person as this one of mine.

8. I give her the gift of wisdom. May all of her choices in life be guided by the wisdom of her heart rather than the rationality of her mind.

9. I give her the gift of freedom. While she will always be welcome to visit in my presence, I set her free to become her own person, establish her own family, experience life her own way without criticism, control, or disapproval from me.

10. I give her the gift of abundance. May she always realize that her heart’s desires are fully available to her simply by making her request known and feeling she is already in possession of that which she seeks.

And so it is. In a little over two weeks, she will step up on stage for the last time as a high school student. When she steps down, her life will forever be changed, and there will be no looking back.

 “….and these three remain: Faith, Trust, and Love, and the greatest of these is Love.” Enjoy life, Princess.

 

Energy Matters

When you get right down to it, everything, every experience, every personal interaction emits some type of energy. My oldest and I have begun to make a game out of reading the energy of people and situations. Don’t get all uppity and weirded out on me, because you all do it. Everyone does it. There are people you really like to be around, and there are those that leave you feeling exhausted after 15 seconds in their presence. All she and I have done is take it one step further so as to actually identify and verbalize what we are perceiving.

This past weekend, we attended a scholarship interview at the university she will be attending this fall. On the four hour drive home, I asked her about the people whose paths we crossed that day as well as others with whom we are acquainted. One of the areas in which I am most interested is why she was so instantly drawn to this university. She is and has always been very sensitive to the energy that radiates from others. She is also quick to let me know when she is loving the energy or looking for a quick exit to escape from it. After going through a list of the people we encountered, both as university personnel and as family members of scholarship applicants, it became quite apparent why she liked this place. The energy of the people who work there (professors, coaches, recruiters) is one of passion, compassion, nurturing, and excellence. That places oozes these things. As a result, they attract some really top notch kids that go on to do incredible things with their lives. Of course it certainly didn’t hurt that our tour guide for the day was a hottie with great energy and gorgeous eyes.

That leads me to my question of the day. What kind of energy do we as individuals or organizations put out? What is radiating from our heart? I know that my energy changes depending on whether I am just trying to get through whatever task requires my attention or whether I am in total love with what I am doing. Over the years, I have been involved with organizations that seemed to be hanging on by the thinnest thread. I always left those encounters feeling drained, and I am quite confident that the energy I contributed back to the organization was less than intoxicating. It was probably downright sedating if not repulsive. It is almost as if I become a magnifier of whatever energy I encounter.

Because of this realization, I have made a decision in my life. I am going to do my best to spend time doing those things and hanging around those people whose energy supports me. In turn, I will be a beacon of amazing energy that fires up people and organizations wherever I go. This will require that I scrutinize my encounters with people and places and ceremonies. Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of good people with crummy energy who both need and deserve my love, but I don’t need to hang out with them for extended periods of time, especially if my energy stores are running on empty. Just as a person wouldn’t take their car to a gas station with an “out of gasoline” sign hanging on the pump, nor would a recovering alcoholic seek a job at a liquor store, neither should I place my precious self near a source that is generating sucking sounds from the vaccuum of nothingness. I know full well that I am too susceptible to the draining effects.

Take a moment and think about the people, places, organizations, events, and hobbies in your life. Which ones lift you to a better place, fill you with life, or put a smile on your face? How can you multiply these encounters? Which ones weigh heavy on your heart and soul, use guilt to hold on to you, or leave you feeling tired, empty, and picked apart? What are you willing to do to release them from your life? Shake off the guilt and let go. After all, if you, too, are a magnifier of the energy that surrounds you, then continuing to hang on to that which doesn’t serve you well only makes it worse for the person or organization you are attempting to serve. Set yourself free and in doing so, you will set others free as well.

Soul Soothers

Here are a few things (in no particular order) that soothe my soul when life gets crazy:

  1. Cuddling up with a love-y dove-y cat.
  2. Rubbing our dog’s ears as if doing Thinking Caps (that’s a BrainGym activity).
  3. Taking a walk in a pasture on a warm wind-less day with the sun blazing down on my forehead.
  4. Scratching our horse’s belly.  He has this one spot that makes him go nuts. It is so much fun to make him feel good.
  5. Listening to the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!” It’s a hoot.
  6. Imagining life in a 600 sq foot house powered by solar and wind, totally independent of everything and everybody.
  7. Imagining how our 300 sq foot barn could be converted into the house I just mentioned.
  8. Looking at a picture of a tropical jungle with an incredible waterfall tumbling down the side of a cliff. I can almost get there in my mind.
  9. Getting wrapped up in the arms of my hunky monkey man.
  10. Talking with my oldest about her dreams and aspirations.
  11. Holding my youngest in my lap while she drifts off to sleep.
  12. Watching my chickens. They are better than any Seinfeld rerun.
  13. Planting my garden. It’s a killer of a job, but such an amazing feeling. This time of year really rocks for me.
  14. Visiting my growing garden BWTO(before weeds take over).
  15. Dragging the chicken pen to a new spot of pasture without any man help.
  16. Watching the water sprinklers dance in a circle and smelling the damp sod.
  17. Roaming the aisles of a greenhouse.
  18. Imagine having my own greenhouse.
  19. Writing blog posts.
  20. Reading blog posts.
  21. Kidnapping my husband and …ahem…”hiding out” with him in the 300 sq foot barn.
  22. Lying flat on my back in the middle of the pasture with the sun on my face.

What works for you?

Students as Evaluators

I recently saw a blog post by a young mother whose kindergartener had gotten in trouble at school. When asked what he had done, the little man promptly replied that he told the teacher his assignment was stupid. Mom looked at the assignment, said something about how we can’t say things like that to our teachers, then agreed (in her head) with her son’s assessment of the assignment.
 
Last night, my massage classmates and I were chatting about life and growing up, when one of them mentioned he had been kicked out of band in the sixth grade. I asked him HOW in the WORLD does a person get kicked out of band in the sixth grade? I mean, this guy is the sweetest, quietest guy with absolutely wonderful energy about him. How could HE get kicked out of band? It seems he felt the task at hand was stupid and they were all being held back (to half note speed) for the sake of the less advanced instrumentalists. Apparently he made his feelings known and then paid a price. What a loss for the world of music!
 
How often do educators give an assignment or task to a child without helping a child see the benefit of the assignment? Yes, I know, kids don’t get to run the show, yet in American education, we use a model, which is about as old as the US Constitution. As an aside, it should be noted that we have had much greater success adhering to an archaic education model than we have had adhering to our blessed Constitution.
 
Kids want the same thing I want. They want things to be authentic, valuable, and worthy of their time and effort whether they are 5 years old, or 16 years old. Adults who are assigned employment tasks that are too easy, too difficult, or seemingly pointless will either get sick or simply quit.
My number 3 daughter literally threw up the first two days of school this year and was sick at her stomach the rest of the first week. No bugs….just a total lack of interest to the point of resenting it. She has a really cool teacher who truly understands the need to be authentic with the kids, however, Number 3 doesn’t play the game well, and she will tell you and show you if she thinks it is a stupid waste of her valuable time and energy. Halfway through the year, she is doing much better, because she has a teacher who is able to cut the crap and get down to what is truly important.
 
How many of us know a brilliant kid who dropped out (or seriously underperformed their potential) because they simply refused to play the game? They are true to themselves, yet are unwilling to comform for comformity’s sake. Some go on to become great entrepreneurs. Others go on to become acquainted with the prison system.  If they are tough enough to take it, they succeed. If they are beaten down and made to feel stupid, they succumb to mediocrity or worse.
 
Education doesn’t typically honor being authentic, unique, and different. Education tends to honor average conformity. Education favors straight rows, standardized tests, logic dominant thinking, and a “do-as-you’re-told” compliance. The teacher who steps out of that mold and truly honors his/her students in a way that allows them to be authentically themselves takes a huge risk, yet gives an invaluable gift to students. Those kids love that teacher no matter how difficult the assignment. Kids evaluate teachers every day, with no formal assessment instrument required. That teacher will get glowing recommendations for generations to come. Administrative evaluators would do well to take note of kid evaluations.
How would you respond to a student who says an assignment is stupid? Does student feedback reflect on the teacher? How can we engage those students who aren’t willing to play the game?How does this relate to our parenting skills? Do our children sometimes think we have assigned them meaningless and useless tasks? How can we improve that situation? Chime in everybody!

Authentic Angie

Mid-Life is such a fun time….and a confusing time….and a brave time….and…and…It really just rocks. Mid-life for me is the point at which I have realized it’s okay to be authentically me. What does that mean? Well, for me it means being who I really am. It means that being a nice person is okay, but I don’t have to squash who I am to please other people. It means that I don’t have to apologize for having an opinion just because someone else thinks I am wrong. Being authentically me means being free to be me, and freedom is so important at this stage of my life.
 
I learned very early on that to be accepted by the “pretty people” meant I had to conform to their view of what was acceptable no matter how stupid or rediculous their views seemed to be. Not doing so created unbearable social pain for me, and I didn’t handle social pain very well. I guess most kids don’t. As a twenty-something, I conformed because I wanted to get a job and then please my superiors. Sadly, it wasn’t because I WANTED to please everyone as much as it was because I was AFRAID of the consequences if I did not please everyone. On those rare occasions when an Authentic Angie showed up, I was quickly admonished and put back in my place.

Over the years, Authentic Angie has reared her head from time to time. She never intends to cause pain for someone else, but often attempts to help bear someone else’s pain or help someone get relief. In return, there it is…some sort of social discomfort as payback for being authentically me. Now at life’s mid-point, I find that I truly want to be authentically me and not care what anyone else thinks. I think it is time. I find that those who try to squash authenticism are themselves feeling threatened, so why would I hand over my emotional confidence to another insecure individual?

 
Authentic Angie is emerging. She is coming forth with confidence, dignity, and purpose. Those who would seek to squash that drive should consider themselves warned….better step out of the way. Authentic Angie is shining through and there is nothing going to stop her from being her authentic self.
 
How does your authentic self shine through?

Bi-Polar Gratitude Disorder

Gratitude is a hot topic these days. If I want good things to come to me, then I must practice an attitude of gratitude with deliberate intent. I am all about this topic, because I have plenty about which to be grateful, and I certainly want more good things to flow my way.

However, it is so much easier for me to find things to gripe about than to overflow with gratitude.  This presents quite a dilema, and I have developed a few strategies to cope with this disorder.

In my most unscientific opinionated research (that means this sentence should have started with “I think…”), there are several factors that play into this battle of the will. The first one is the constant negative bombardment from our surroundings: newsmedia, co-workers, the billboard selling vasectomy reversals, disgruntled parents, even well-meaning friends and family who think they have my best interest at heart. You know exactly what I am talking about. It’s like a hot tub of negativity, so easy to just sit there and soak in it, absorbing its negativity molecule by molecule as our pores enlarge in the rising heat to let in bigger and bigger chunks. <SHUDDER>

Then there is the genetic factor. There simply has to be a genetic component, again, because……I say there is. It’s an inborn trait that is passed from a parent or a grandparent and lands….well….apparently in my jeans…er uh…genes. I know my family history, and even though that source of family negativity passed from physical life so long ago I barely remember, I know it was there. Since my growing up years were fairly positive, I am convinced my natural tendancy toward negativity must have been hard-coded.

Now comes the tough fun part. (See? I remain a work in progress.) I have to figure out daily, hourly, and even moment by moment who will win. Will it be gratefulness carrying the torch today? Will negativity stand triumphant as I rip some poor soul  for their stupidity and ignorance? Will the “Doing what I love will lead me down a path to success” mantra lead me through my day, or will the “How could you possibly be thinking about quitting your job in this economy” mantra guide my decisions? It’s a very bizarre form of being bi-polar, if you ask me. (My apologies to those who deal with the real form of this disorder, yet it makes for a good analogy.)

When a person struggles with managing a disease or disorder, they learn what their triggers are, they take appropriate meds when necessary, and they nourish their body with those things that support health and wellness. Bi-polar Gratitude Disorder is no different.  

I know what my triggers for negativity are. They are the very things I described above including watching or listening to news and politics (geez that stuff is depressing), hanging around people who ooze anger, hostility, and resentment that just seems to smear all over me and suck me in like quicksand, and family who are hyperfocused on that first item (what the media is saying about our economy) and insist on making sure I don’t do something they think is stupid and irresponsible. Just like an allergy, I do my best to stay far away from these. When I do have an unavoidable encounter, I have to reach for the “meds”.

I make a daily conscious effort to “take my medicine” both on schedule and in emergency rescue situations. I read daily affirmations that appear on my web browser’s homepage or pop up in Twitter (see this website  for a dose of good thought). I am not one to glue and tape pieces of paper on the bathroom mirror, but I totally enjoy the random digital messages that appear for me on screen. They are as if God picks out just the right dosage for me at the exact moment I am gasping for positive air and need my rescue affirmation.

Finally, there is the health and wellness component. It is simply easier to be positive and grateful when my body feels amazing. That’s not always an easy task at 40 as a full time working (outside of the home)mom going to massage school and having four incredibly involved kids and an awesome husband . Fortunately, my first method of treatment makes this third method of treatment much easier. Since I don’t spend much time participating in negative media, that leaves much more time for taking walks, feeding my chickens, working on my farm, soaking up sunshine, listening to inspirational works, preparing healthy foods, and of course therapeutic writing.

Thank goodness bi-polar gratitude disorder isn’t fatal. I’m not convinced it is curable, but it is manageable.

How do you control bi-polar gratitude disorder flareups?

Lighthouses

I stumbled on a blog post that had tons of responses. Within one of the responses was this thought: “A Lighthouse will never be found in a safe place. Believe that you are able to share and know that what you have, somebody needs.” The post was left by Craig Fourie craig@allmay.co.za of Cape Town, South Africa, at themastersgathering.com.
 
I LOVE this thought. I really needed to have this whispered (or maybe shouted) to my spirit this morning. Many of us are lighthouses. We have knowledge and energy and passion for and about things that the world desperately needs to know. Deep inside of us we believe our knowledge is of value, however we also believe the lies that no one will listen or that someone else is much smarter about it than we are. And so, we keep our lighthouse locked up and the light turned off.
Who knows? There is likely a “ship” coming into your harbor who needs your light’s guidance to dock safely. Yes, it is true that there may be a brighter lighthouse in another harbor, but the ship is approaching your harbor.
Will you shine or will you watch the ship hit the rocks?
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