Why Not . . . Spring Forward?

“Don’t fear change. You may lose something good, but you may also gain something great.” -Anonymous ~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #29 A couple of years ago I shared a list of 12 simple ways to prep for the season of spring, and while these are each activities and seasonal habits I thoroughly look forward to […] Listen now or continue reading below.


“Don’t fear change. You may lose something good, but you may also gain something great.” -Anonymous

~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #29

A couple of years ago I shared a list of 12 simple ways to prep for the season of spring, and while these are each activities and seasonal habits I thoroughly look forward to and highly recommend, I wanted to go a bit deeper today. After all, if we desire to spring forward, we must first be willing to let go, otherwise forward momentum will be if not impossible, very difficult as we are weighed down with unnecessary burdens.

Think about a deciduous tree for example. When fall arrives, the leaves turn their glorious autumnal shades as moisture seeps from them, and then they eventually fall to the grown to offer the exhilarating crunch we walk through as we admire the changing of the seasons. In order to be free in the spring to burst forth with as much potential as possible, the leaves from the past must no longer linger on the branches. So too must we unburden ourselves from excess that is no longer serving us. Whether it simply be clothes we no longer wear, items in our home that simply take up space and need to be donated or sold, or something more empowering as to let go of limited thinking – fearful thoughts that may be holding us back keeping us in the current place in our life that is actually no longer serving us.

Today the discussion is going to focus on four ways to be clear about where we want to go, eliminate what prevents us from getting there and maintaining the progress we wish to see occur.

1. Craft Your Personal Mission Statement

“Fundamentally, your mission statement becomes your constitution . . . like the United States Constitution, it is [at its core] fundamentally changeless . . . , the solid expression of your vision and values. It becomes the criterion by which you measure everything else in your life.” -Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Originally written in 1989, Stephen Covey’s success how-to guide has been poured over by thousands, probably millions. And one of his suggestions that he is adamant about when it comes to cultivating a road to a successful life whether it be personal or business is drafting a mission statement. In other words, our very own constitution. A map by how we live, make decisions and go about setting goals and pursing them.

As he reminds his readers, everyone’s will be unique. You may want to create one for business, for your family or only for your own personal direction. I have two: one for the blog and one for my personal guidance. What a mission statement provides is something to constantly be checking in with; however, as Covey reminds,

“A mission statement is not something you write overnight. It takes deep introspection, careful analysis, thoughtful expression and often many rewrites to produce it in final form . . . you will want to review it regularly and make minor changes as the years bring additional insight or changing circumstances.” -Stephen Covey 

The three main components of any mission statement are as follows:

  1. What do you want to be? (character)
  2. What do you want to do? (contributions and achievements)
  3. What are your values and principles upon what being and doing are based?

I can remember writing my first personal mission statements more than 10 years ago, and upon looking at it recently, while some items have been tweaked due to my circumstances, at the core, my values are the same which was very reassuring.

I encourage you to carve out an afternoon, don’t put a time limit on when it must be completed, and just let your pen flow for awhile. Then craft it into a document that is styled in your own unique voice. Perhaps you prefer poem form instead of prose, but add your own touch. I think you will find great comfort and guidance as you move forward toward the simply luxurious life you are curating for yourself. Oh, and if you want, once you are finished, make it formal – frame it, print it and place it somewhere where you can see it on a regular basis. Or perhaps, you wish to remain more private, in that case, keep a neatly printed copy in your planner or wallet to better suit you. Either way, put it somewhere so that you can refer to it as needed.

~Click here to view a long list of examples of personal mission statements.

2. Discover the Power of Meditation

More creativity, less stress, more compassion, better memory, more positive emotions, long-lasting emotional stability and improved focus. In other words, overall improved health and quality life. Such amazing benefits, and they truly all materialize with a simply daily habit of mindful meditation.

I know, I know – sitting, breathing, not thinking – how is that going to prompt these amazing, much-desired outcomes to occur? After being a half-hearted skeptic for quite some time, a couple of years ago, I came to the realization that this simple practice was something that required much conscious effort. In other words, I realized I couldn’t just sit down and voila!

So I began reading more about it, and coupled with the knowledge that we truly do have the ability to master our minds, I began to realize while I knew I needed to master my mind, that wasn’t happening all of the time, especially not during times of high stress. And I wanted to change.

As I mentioned in last week’s newsletter, having read Dan Harris’ book 10% Happier more than just a few aha moments occurred. In fact it was his initial skepticism that encouraged me to not only read and finish the book, but reread and take ample notes, keeping the book next to me on my first couple attempts at meditating. Simply put Harris reminds readers that “Mindfulness provides space between impulse and action, so you’re not a slave to whatever neurotic obsession pops into your head.”

But in basic terms how does this actually work? I wanted to know, so I found out. Here is the science of the brain as explained in this article: meditation weakens the Me Center (responsible for trigger strong emotional reaction when we feel we might be under attack) and strengthens the Assessment Center of our brains which serves as the rational part of our brain.

In other words, we are better equipped to act based on rational thought rather than our impulse which is motivated by emotion that may be regrettable later.

3. Spruce Up Your Spring Wardrobe

Okay, let’s lighten it up a little bit. If you are a subscriber to either the weekly TSLL newsletter or the bi-annual Seasonal Shopping Guide newsletter, over the past weekend you received TSLL Spring Shopping Guide. And while I admit in the newsletter that clothes are not the answer to the endless questions in life when it comes to discovering our purpose and finding tranquility in our day to day lives, they are a means to the end. In other words, how we present ourselves to the world intrinsically affects our mood, our confidence and the confidence of others in us to complete the job.

So whether you are looking to completely revamp your closet or simply need to add a few items, why not have a look at the guide. Better yet, begin by doing a closet assessment, and then begin building your capsule wardrobe.

4. Reinvigorate Your Eating Regimen

weeklyshoppingrun

Often times when we sit down to write our new year’s resolutions in January, if they have anything to do with eating well, it can be difficult to become motivated about the selection. After all, at least in my experience, farmer’s markets are closed, fresh produced has been shipped from great distances and food bursting with flavor can be hard to find. However, now that spring is upon us, the opposite is true, good food is becoming more and more available and at great, cost-saving options.

Over the weekend, I shared the above photo of my grocery run for the week as I had discussed a few weeks ago on my Thoughts from the Editor post. And in all honestly, this image very rarely deviates from week to week in order to simplify my life and keep my eating habits in line.

But here is where it will change, when new seasons begin to offer their prime vegetables and fruit. Right now I’m eager to bring into my kitchen asparagus and rhubarb and come summer, I will be piling the tomatoes into my basket or pulling them off the vines from my yard.

Have fun picking and choosing food. The cooking does not have to be complicated if the food is of high quality and the use of herbs, olive oil and real butter are used appropriately. Click here to view a list of how to feed your body well without depriving your taste buds of luxurious flavor and satiation.

At the core of springing forward is priming the well that is you. Once you know what you value, no matter what changes around you, you will be better equipped to flow with the changes because as Covey reminds us, our core principle values shouldn’t fluctuate much, if at all, much like the U.S. Constitution.

May you have a wonderful start to the new season.

~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:

~Why Not . . . Buy Local Produce?

~Why Not . . . Create a Mini Garden?

~What is Worth the Risk?

Petit Plaisir

solemeuneire

Sole Meunière 

~scene starring Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci in Julie & Julia~

Time: 10-20 minutes

Servings: 2

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 fresh sole fillets (3-4 ounces each)
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoons of grated lemon zest
  • 2 small lemons or 1 large lemon (3-4 tablespoons of juice)
Directions:
  1. Combine flour with salt and pepper on a large shallow plate.
  2. Pat the sole dry with a paper towel and then sprinkle with salt on one side.
  3. Heat up 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a sauce pan over medium heat until it begins to brown.
  4. Dredge both fillets in the flour mixture.
  5. Place the fillets in the saucepan with the hot butter.
  6. Cook for 2-3 minutes on one side until lightly brown.
  7. Flip onto the second side and sprinkle fillets with zest and lemon juice. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  8. Remove from the pan and place on serving dish. Pour the sauce from the pan over the fish for additional flavor.
  9. Serve immediately or cover with tin foil until remaining dishes for your menu are complete.
  10. Garnish with chopped Italian parsley and/or slices of lemon.

~Wine as seen in the photos from Liner & Elsen, Chateau d’Aix-en-Provence Rose, 2013

~recipe for Roasted Vegetables (as seen in the picture)



3 thoughts on “Why Not . . . Spring Forward?

  1. I heartily second your recommendation of Dan Harris’ book. Having read many books on how to meditate, I was left more confused than enlightened. I felt that I wasn’t doing it right… that I wasn’t devoting enough time to it (because — realistically — who has upwards of an hour a day to meditate?)… that there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t just sit there without thoughts running amok through my head. Harris gave me more insight into the process than any of the “professional meditators” that I’d read. I think that some things it is better to learn from a peer (and I consider Harris closer to where I am than any of the modern gurus) because it makes it more accessible. I am so glad that I serendipitously found his book at a yard sale and had the impulse to buy it.

  2. Shannon – check out the meditation app Headspace. I have tried off and on for years to meditate successfully and never could until I tried Headspace. I would suggest downloading the free 10 session trial – which you can just continue using as long as you want – and see how you like it. These are 10 minute sessions – very simple and direct.

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