Friday, February 27, 2015

Time of Our Lives

Maybe we should call 2015 the Year of Catastrophes. It’s hard to name a crisis that hasn’t happened in the last eight weeks. Scanning the country and the world, we’ve seen everything from outrageous terrorist attacks to train derailments, from gas explosions to twin typhoons. Add in seventy car pile-ups, and non-stop, massive snow storms and you get a sense of how things have been going.

Daily news stories create fears about walking outside and apprehension about staying inside. A random vehicle could come crashing through our wall at any time. That’s already occurred this year, too. Regardless of the potential dangers, we glide through life not expecting a major crisis to directly impact us. And if it does, we’ll hope for a miracle.  For many of us, miracles defy logic, and stir up both curiosity and frustration. We’re always wondering how miracles occur and if we’ll experience one. Figure out how these people survived:    

I’m sure my blood pressure rose after watching that video. Every day we live life on the edge hoping to avoid one of 2015’s catastrophes. Like a dark cloud of danger hovering above us, the present and the future can hound our thoughts. In perilous times like these, what keeps your blood pressure stable?           


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Shake It Off

What a relief when snowplows clear your street after a major snow storm—until you walk outside and find your mailbox on the ground. What happens next? I can tell you what you shouldn’t happen. No angry calls to the snow plow folks complaining about damaged mailboxes. Damage is a hazard of the season. You also don’t call the mailbox repair man because there isn’t one. Even though you can call for help to clean your house, clear out the debris, pick up your dry cleaning, mow the lawn, and shovel snow, no one’s coming to your house to fix a mailbox. Last week we had to pick up our little mailbox off the ground and move on. No use moping. It’s a time to get the creative do-it-yourself juices flowing! You should see some of the contraptions people devise to solve snowy weather problems. Here’s one:

It’s not what you’d expect to see after a snow storm, but it is a solution that works. If you’re a regular news watcher, you’ll notice that we’re becoming a society of emotional responders rather than creative problem-solvers. Every week someone commits an unnecessary act of violence because things didn’t work out according to their plans. We all overreact from time to time. How do you control your anger?      

Friday, February 13, 2015

Your Perfect Spot

Nothing raises spirits like a brief retreat from the everyday routine. A few weeks ago, I retreated to the beautiful Bahamas. We stayed at Atlantis, an amazing hotel where activities and fun were within a ten minute shuttle ride down the road. The proximity of restaurants, music, wonderful beaches with sparkling turquoise water, aquariums, snorkeling, and a water park made it feel like we had stepped into paradise. The trip still feels like a dream, and that's probably because our short stay left me no time to get nitpicky.

Once we find “paradise,” it’s interesting how soon we find fault with it. Before long, we’re ready for the next perfect place. Have you discovered the paradise? Maybe this is what you’re looking for:     

Daily routines bore us. Paradise is good for two weeks and then we’re in the Bahamas muttering about too many sunny days. Some people believe a utopian society is impossible, but we can still aspire to it. What's paradise look like for you?  

Friday, February 6, 2015

Lifting the Shade on You

Celebrities often complain about living their lives in a fish bowl, with photographers tracking their every move. For average people, social media allows us to live the fish bowl life. We broadcast what we had for breakfast, where we ate it, and post pictures for proof. I’m always surprised about the type of things people share.

For instance, driving through neighborhoods, you’ll see a number of people who don’t mind giving drivers access to what’s going on inside. Fortunately for them, you can’t stop and stare. It’s illegal.  Given some of the sights you see, you’d think people want you to drop by for a visit. Maybe you’ll stop and watch this, if you can wait at least sixteen seconds:

Did you catch the expression on that face? There’s something intriguing in that room. lf you enjoy attention, here’s how to get it. Draw the curtains and close the shades, then focus on developing the positive attributes in you. Be a role model. Regardless of whether you enjoy the spotlight or prefer being behind the scenes, somebody’s watching you. What traits, habits, and behaviors do you want them to see?             

Friday, January 30, 2015

Beyond the Salt

If you’re like me, about this time of the year you’re experiencing a love-hate relationship with road salt. Oh sure, we want to see it covering the street if the weatherperson predicts ice or snow. We want to scatter it on our sidewalks and driveways—but road salt has a dark side.

How annoying is it to see your vehicle coated with salt after every storm? And don’t get me started on the amount of window washer fluid you need to clean the white stuff off the windshield. If you don’t spritz every few miles, it’ll feel like you‘re driving in a blurry dream. Perhaps there’s a way to see things differently. Take a look:  

Sometimes our automatic reflexes focus on obstacles before we can spot the route to victory. Instead of clearing away fears, doubts, and criticisms, we get sidelined and give up on our goals and dreams. Visualize who you want to be, what you want to do, and where you want to go. How are you going to adjust your perspective to make sure you get there?     


Saturday, January 24, 2015

I’m Wrong? You’re Wrong!

I overheard someone say, “The color yellow makes me sad.” Yellow? Sad? Really? Bright, sunny colors like yellow, red, and orange are supposed to cheer us up. I thought brown, black, and gray were the designated “sad” colors. The more I read, the more I see how two people can look at the same situation and arrive at two different conclusions.

Have you ever read the comments section below an online article? Let’s imagine an article about a second grade class studying rainbows in school. One commenter might celebrate rainbows and how children should be exposed to science in all its beautiful forms. The next commenter does a complete reverse. They’ll state that rainbows are trivial and irrelevant, and since they disappear quickly, studying rainbows could lead to depression in young students. Sure it sounds far-fetched, but I’ve read some unbelievable comments. Consider these perspectives:      

So should we name blocks or streets? Who’s right and who’s wrong? If you can convince anyone to agree with you, it probably won’t be because you stood on the opposite side of the street engaging in name-calling. For some reason, people act like that strategy wins arguments. I doubt it. Which cultural debate have you been trying to win? State your case.          

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

(Not) A Walk in the Park

When did Alaska get so popular? Cable TV airs several shows featuring the state and its newest residents who, by moving there, prove they don’t always need neighbors or indoor restrooms. While we complain about polar vortexes and single digit temperatures, they’re fine with sub-zero weather. If it’s a cold wilderness you want, Alaska’s the place to go. Alaskan winters are tough, but people tolerate them for the freedom and solitude of peaceful living. Life in the wilderness isn’t for everyone, but for resilient folks, it’s perfect. Here's someone's version of paradise:

The gentleman makes living alone in Alaska look easy.  Once the trend catches on and hordes of people abandon their busy lifestyles for an isolated log cabin, you’ll see shows like “Buying North Dakota and ”Buying Wyoming.” If summer breezes give you goose bumps, you probably won’t relocate to Alaska. But when you want a bit of solitude, where do you go?