the inspiration blog

Posts Tagged ‘daily inspiration

If things just aren’t moving for you, whether it’s a creative block, or you just feel stuck, you can take practical steps – literally. Try some of the following:

  1. Go for a walk. Exercise is a great way to get the energy moving. Even walking around the block can help! Getting in nature is even better.
  2. Visualize. Imagine how you’d like your life to be, or whatever you’d like to be shifted. Engage all 5 senses, picturing how you’d fully engage with your new life. Reinforce this several times a day.
  3. Create the worst version possible. Get out of the perfectionist mindset by literally creating a horrible, terrible version of whatever is your ideal goal. I mean really, really bad. Maybe even two or three times! …Maybe you’ll just happen to find some gems you can keep.

Part 3: Opening to change.

If you’ve ever felt stuck in a rut – or perhaps mired in a painful situation – it can feel like there’s no end in sight, as much as we want one. Conversely, at times, we can find change threatening – especially if we have things we like.

Yet, ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus duly noted, “The only constant is change.” Every moment is different and brings new opportunities. The seasons progress, we age and see things differently, and the world changes. Whether it’s political upheaval in the middle east, natural disaster in Japan, or a technological innovation that shifts how people work and send information, Shift Happens.

Part 2: how to get things moving when we feel stuck.

Last post, I talked about how we can grow from our pain. However, there’s yet another step we can take: use our wounds to inspire people, and to uplift ourselves.

As a child, I was painfully shy and had few friends. In fact, as a very young boy I developed a stutter when my father tried to teach me to read at too early an age; I just wasn’t ready.

Yet somehow, in high school I ended up on the speech and debate team… and did well, even amidst social awkwardness.

While I had many steps along the way, including becoming an actor, director, high school and college speech coach, and graduate degrees in communication and theater, I’ve ended up with my own business as a coach – a personal growth-oriented coaching and workshops to help people speak from their full power, and “perform” in life with authenticity, truth, and effectiveness.

Many others have overcome far greater adversity (did you know James Earl Jones had a strong stutter as well?)… but that’s my story. And what’s yours?

Action: Take an inventory of what’s been most painful for you in your life. What have you overcome, partially or fully? Or, what is still a challenge? How can you envision using it to inspire others?

 

I went to a café yesterday, and while trying to get to the cream to add some to my coffee, a woman was reaching across and was rather in the way of getting access to the condiments. She saw me and apologized, and said, “You gotta watch out for those short people – they’re pushy because people don’t see them.” (She was a bit shorter than me, but I hadn’t paid that fact much attention.)

I looked at her and said with a kind smile, “Maybe people see you more than you think they do.”

She said back to me, “I bet someone like you sees everybody.”

That made my day. I wasn’t exactly trying to do anything special. All I did was be present, patient (not that I always am, mind you), and notice someone else.

Action: Notice what’s around you. Let obstacles – people or otherwise – become  opportunities for noticing the gifts in your path.

 

Whenever there’s a huge disaster, whether it’s the Twin Towers or Japan and the tsunamis, the media just loooooves to show trauma-inducing images over and over. How to stay sane??

Yes, it’s good to know what’s happening in the world – but traumatizing ourselves, and being absorbed in the Group Mind, is not beneficial. Steps:

  1. Don’t watch the news on TV. If you absolutely must see video, watch it online – once.
  2. Read news in the paper or online – and also read alternative news web sites and magazines for other points of view.
  3. Read blogs from people living in Japan – get the direct lowdown, not that put out by just the mainstream media.
  4. Only read once or twice a day. More often is just unnecessary. Fixating will not make things better.
  5. Visualize things improving.

Does visualizing help? Depends on your point of view. But I can promise that it’s certainly better for your state of mind, at the very least.

 

As we’ve seen, both acting and reacting have their upsides and downsides. Now, obviously we’re taking “acting” away from its theater meaning… or are we?

Acting on Stage – and in Life

An actor, in a traditional play, has a script she has learned, rehearses, and then performs on stage. We too, have learned scripts we’re playing out, often without realizing we’re doing so.

In improv, however, the improv actor’s job is to react to the current moment. Now, a lot of “bad” improv is out there – where the improviser is trying to be funny (e.g., create a funny character) rather than truly listen and respond, which makes it feel inauthentic. Similarly, if you are not appropriately responding to the current moment, you might appear a bit fake too.

Next: integrating the two.

Being an Actor, Acting, and Action

Last post we addressed reacting. Now, let’s focus on acting – being an actor in your own life. To act is to choose how you move through the world. Your actions originate with you at the center of your universe.

Benefits: You have more power to determine your own destiny.

Drawbacks: You may in fact be disconnected from other people, and could act inappropriately to the present circumstance.

Worst case scenario: You’re in your own head and not aware of what to do. Or, you rebel from the status quo, trying to be your own person – but in fact rebellion is still a type of reaction.

Best case scenario: You can walk through life and make conscious choices for the highest good, regardless of what is happening around you.

Part three: how these relate to “acting” on stage.


In your life, are you an Actor – or a Reactor? Both are essential. Let’s take a look at them, and how they can work together.

Reactions, Responding and Reacting

The most typical way of being in the world is to react. This is understandable, as it’s fairly habitual. Social constructionists say that our personalities are formed in response to everything around us – and we continue to reify and reenact those patterns unless we undertake an act of intervention (e.g., therapy, meditation, or a dramatic life event).

Benefits: You’re in tune with everyone else.

Drawbacks: Everyone else determines your reactions, triggering your own habitual responses.

Worst case scenario: Being a “nuclear reactor,” where external stimuli set off internal explosions that ricochet back to others and create unhappy dynamics.

Best case scenario: You know what’s happening with others, and are in touch with the best way to respond to them.

Next, we’ll take a look at acting.

When we walk in the world, we want to both be perceived as – and feel – strong. No one wants to feel vulnerable, and open to the whims and weathers of our daily environment. Yet, the bough that does not flex with the wind shall break. So:

  1. Trust. Know your core, what you love, and what you’re about. Define yourself through what is most important to you – not by what you don’t want.
  2. Have community that supports you – yet that will also gently remind you when you’re not on course.
  3. If something doesn’t go your way, view it as a gift that has yet to be revealed. Listen to its message, and heed it.
  4. Don’t feel the need to prove your strength to anyone. True strength is within – it need not be demonstrated.
  5. Adhere to your path – but also let yourself change course.

This is a big topic. So meditate on the above – whichever one calls to you, or perhaps that which feels most troublesome. Let it guide you.

Having too many choices brings unhappiness. So how to make a good decision? Here are a few methods.

  1. Don’t rely on your mind – trust your body. When you need to make a decision, don’t let the mind spin in circles. Instead, take a deep breath into your body. Think about one option at a time, and notice how how you physically feel. If you’re relaxed and at ease, that’s a good sign. And if you get tight and constricted, that’s probably not the best path.
  2. Trust your own ability to choose correctly. Don’t let self-doubt plague you. Yes, there’s room for reassessment at various stages, so just go for it.
  3. Ask how much it matters. When I was young and had a hard time deciding on what to eat or such, my mom asked me how much it really mattered. Good point, Mom! If you can’t decide, perhaps both options will be fine. So, try one. See what happens. And adjust accordingly.

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